Eleanor Craig Green — a longtime Westporter whose books about working with troubled children influenced generations of educators, therapists and parents — died Monday. She was 87.
Her 1st book was P.S. Your Not Listening — and its subject was as fresh as its misspelled title. (It quoted a note from a student.)
In 1965, many youngsters with special needs were sent to programs or institutions, segregated from mainstream schools. Green volunteered to teach Connecticut’s pilot class, bringing “socially and emotionally maladjusted children” to an ordinary elementary school.
Despite community resistance and student defiance, her class demonstrated the social and educational benefits of “mainstreaming” kids with special needs.
P.S. Your Not Listening was published in 1972. It contrasted classroom drama with her other lives: Westport mother of 4 young children, and wife of an aspiring writer. (William Craig, her 1st husband, wrote bestselling World War II histories and suspense novels, including The Fall of Japan.)
Writing as Eleanor Craig, she published 2 more books about her work with troubled children: If We Could Hear the Grass Grow and One, Two, Three: The Story of Matt, a Feral Child.
Her 4th book — The Moon is Broken — chronicled her relationship with her eldest daughter. Ann Craig was a performance artist who earned a cult reputation at Lower East Side dance clubs, before her death in 1987.
In 1978 Eleanor Craig married fellow Westporter Paul Green, a magazine publisher. Their Old Mill Beach home was the busy center of a large blended family, and an extensive network of devoted friends.
Paul Green– now 93 — remains an activist against Parkinson’s disease. With his wife’s help, he credits rowing with adding years to his life. She did not retire from her family-centered therapy practice until last year.
Eleanor Craig’s survivors also include her children and stepchildren Richard Craig of Arlington, Virginia; William Craig of Thetford Center, Vermont; Ellen Perlwitz of Putnam, Connecticut; Andrew Green of Oakland, California; Alex Green of Oakland, California; Doug Green of Washington, DC; Katherine Appy of Amherst, Massachusetts, and Peter Green of Westport; 20 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren, and her siblings Claire Megan of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and John Russell of Hull, Massachusetts.
A memorial service is planned for August 31 (11 a.m., St. Luke’s Church). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut.