Cecile E. Cover

cecile cover
Cecile Eng Cover, of McLean, VA, died peacefully on January 11, 2023, four days short of her 102d birthday. She was born on January 15, 1921, in St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Oscar Maurice Eng and Eleanor Clark Eng. Cecile was preceded in death by her husband, Col. William (Bill) Cover (U.S. Army, ret.). After graduating from Macalester College in St. Paul in 1942, Cecile was in the first group of women who entered the WAVES in October 1943. During the war, she served in Washington, D.C, in the Bureau of Ordinance. Lt. (JG) Eng left the Navy in 1946.

While serving in Washington, Cecile met her future husband, a proud son of Johnstown, PA, and a recent West Point graduate (USMA JN43), when he stopped by her group home to visit a friend from home. As she enjoyed telling it, she “snapped him up”. They were married in 1948 and Cecile began the life of an Army wife. The highlight of their Army service together undoubtedly was a tour in Amman, Jordan, from mid-1958 to early 1961, where Bill was attached to the American Embassy. One of the most memorable moments of their time there for her was when she had the honor of dancing with King Hussein. After returning from Jordan and after a two-year tour at Ft. Hood, TX, they moved to Fairfax City in early 1963. Although she lived in Northern Virginia for the rest of life, she adamantly insisted to the end of her days that she was a Minnesotan. Cecile worked as a realtor in Northern Virginia from 1963 until her retirement in the late 1990s. Bill died in 1993 and six years later Cecile moved to the Vinson Hall Retirement Community in McLean, where she lived in her independent living apartment until her death. A gymnast in her youth, on her 100th birthday she declared that she did not feel that old, stating “I can still stand on my head!” Fortunately, she did not actually try.

Just three months ago, she was honored at the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Military Women’s Memorial on Oct. 15, 2022, a proud moment for her and her family.

In addition to her sons, Robert (Bonnie Lepoff), John, and David, she is survived by a grandson, William Cover, a granddaughter, Kristy Jacobs Dalton, and 3 great-grandchildren.

Cecile will be buried with Bill at Arlington National Cemetery at a time to be determined.

Donations in her name may be made to the American Diabetes Association or the American Heart Association.

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Memories Timeline


  1. To the family of LTjg Cecile Cover, USNR
    I was a apartment neighbor of Mrs. Cover at Vinson Hall for 16 years and passed her frequently in the hallway. We exchanged smiles and small talk and I came to greatly admire her spirit and composure. She will be missed but she leaves with the reputation for having a life well lived.
    One aside: I think the Arlington gravesite of the Covers and my family are very near to each other. If so, we will continue to be neighbors for eternity.
    Signed: Captain James E. Wentz, USN (Ret)

  2. The obituary for your mother in the Washington Post brought back many memories. Your mother and my mother were the same age, and they became friends in the late 1930s in the youth group of First Baptist Church of St. Paul. When that group began to disperse geographically, a dozen young women formed the “Round Robin,” a circulating set of letters, with both of our mothers as members. It persisted for well over sixty years, I think, until death or dementia claimed most of the members.

    I grew up in the DC area, and our two families got together on a handful of occasions over the years, but not often. I recall one time in the 1950s when your family (mom and all three boys) came to live in our house in Maryland for a week or two. I think your house was being repaired after a fire or some other event. (At that time your family also included a teenage girl – named Cookie, I believe – who was not related to you.) My parents moved away from the area in 1978, and my father died in 1991, but our mothers remained in touch with each other.

    My condolences on the death of your mother. Amazingly, my mother is still living at age 102 – in a skilled nursing facility in Pennsylvania. She is extremely frail and will not live much longer.

    Bob Tiller, son of Olive Tiller

    • Bob, Thank you for this note! There are many, many letters in Cecile’s files from your mother and from the Round Robin group. We are taking them all home to read. Perhaps we can share some of them with you? Please let your mother know that we are thinking of her.

  3. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your dear mother. Your parents and mine (Jim and Lillian Elkey) were friends for a long time. Where they met, I do not know. Dad was a West Point graduate, class of 1945 (Artillery). We were stationed at Fort Hood when you were, and then moved to Alexandria in 1963. I think your mother sold my parents their house in Alexandria in early 1963. Mom and I visited your mom in Vinson Hall when she was considering where to live after Dad died in 2010. She ultimately decided to move to The Fairfax in Fort Belvoir where many of Dad’s classmates lived. She will be 100 in May and now lives in a private assisted living home in Vienna. I wish her mind was still good so she could tell some memories of your parents.
    Pat Elkey O’Neill

  4. We fondly remember Mrs Cover helping us find our first home in 1983. We were friends with her son John, and frequently think of the Covers and remember a wonderful family. Our deepest condolences. The Yeos

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