Mary Ellen Van Ness

Honored by:James E. Van Ness
Brick location:D:6  map

Mary Ellen Dolvin was born and raised in Spencer, Iowa. She graduated in Home Economics from Iowa State in December of 1948. She and Jim Van Ness were married that same month. They moved to Evanston, Illinois, in June of 1949 and have made their home there since then.

Mary Ellen has four daughters: Becky, Barby, Meg and Julie. Raising them was her major occupation during the years that they lived at home. Their success not only in the careers they have chosen, but also as people attests to the guidance they had in their early lives from Mary Ellen. There now are five grandchildren in whom she takes great pride.

Mary Ellen and Jim have been associated with Northwestern University since moving to Evanston. When they first came, Mary Ellen supervised all of the student employees in the largest food service operation on campus. She has been very active in many campus activities, including a term as copresident of the University Circle, the organization of faculty wives and other women associated with the University. Recently she retired from being the librarian for Lekotek, a toy lending library for children with special needs. While there, she moved their operations into modern times by computerizing the library system.

Mary Ellen is always trying to help other people. She is well known in the community and liked by all. Her family and friends are proud to have her included in this Plaza of Heroines.

Submitted on 7/1/96