The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

St. John’s benefactor and former trustee Eleanor Taffner passes away

One of St. John’s most beloved supporters, Eleanor Taffner, died yesterday in New York City, according to a letter sent out by Father Harrington this morning. 

Eleanor Taffner was a member of the University’s Board of Trustees for over ten years, serving as a member of the Executive Committee, as well as acting as chair of both the Student Affairs Committee and the Athletics sub-committee. 

Eleanor met her husband and St. John’s alumnus, Donald Taffner, in 1960 during a business meeting. They married six months later and went on to build DLT Entertainment, Limited, one of the most successful businesses in the television industry.

The Taffners were responsible for bringing shows like “Three’s Company” and “Too Close for Comfort” to television. 

Eleanor was highly recognized for her efforts, both at the University and elsewhere. She was given an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree in 1994, and in 2007, both she and her husband were presented with the Spirit of Service Award. 

Both of the Taffners were ardent supporters of Red Storm athletics, inspiring the University in 2005 to rename the renovated Athletic Field House after them. 

In his letter to the University, Father Harrington expressed his deep sympathy for the family’s loss and acknowledged all that she had done for the community. 

“Eleanor Taffner embodied the Vincentian spirit of compassionate concern and service and lived her life with a quiet grace and a deep sense of caring for her family, her friends and the students of St. John’s University,” he said in a  statement. “She always believed in the boundless potential of St. John’s students and that their educational experience here would lead them to achieve beyond their most ambitious dreams. Eleanor was a pillar of strength and an inspiring presence for all of us in the St. John’s community.”

Funeral arrangements had not yet been completed and any further information will be made available on the St. John’s Web site.

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