Eleanor M. Kowalchek died Sept. 1 at the Knollwood Military Retirement Community. She was 80.

She will be remembered for her beautiful smile, kindness and courage in fighting Parkinson’s disease.

She was born on June 14, 1941 in Worcester, the daughter of the late Chester and Viola Nachorski.

Eleanor loved to travel. While in college, she participated in the Experiment for International Living’s program in Sweden, where she also visited other European cities to study fashion, culture, and customs. Some of her early memories of the Vineyard were during summers in college, when she taught swimming in Chilmark and worked at the former Boston House in Oak Bluffs.

She graduated from Syracuse University and moved to New York city, where she enjoyed the city’s vast international arts and culture offerings. She was employed as a senior buyer for the Department of Defense’s PX System in Fort Dix, N.J.

She was married for more than 55 years to the late Major Peter P. Kowalchek Jr. Eleanor and Peter were avid sailors for more than 30 years, navigating the waters of New England including Mystic, Newport, Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

They spent more than 50 summers on the Vineyard at their family home on Samoset avenue in Oak Bluffs, where Eleanor enjoyed the beaches, sailing, swimming, shopping and relaxing on the porch.

In later years, she enjoyed traveling with her husband, participating on various tours throughout Europe, exploring the Caribbean and Mexico on cruises, and visiting family and friends throughout the U.S.

Eleanor and Peter moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 2014 after having spent 30 years in Avon, Conn. They moved to Knollwood in the spring of 2016. Her years there were fulfilling when they met with fellow residents and participated in social activities.

She is survived by a daughter, Sandra Kowalchek, of North Bethesda, Md; a son, Scott Kowalchek and his wife Nichola, and grandchildren Britain and Kira of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

She also leaves a sister, Diane Maguire, and her husband, John, of Westboro.

A prayer service will be held on Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. at DeVol Funeral Home in Washington, D.C. A formal Catholic chapel service and interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery on a date to be determined.

For the full obituary and to extend online notes of condolence to the family, please visit: www.devolfuneralhome.com/obituaries.