Eleanor Neeva Jackson Northcott grew up in Davidson, North Carolina, where she attended Davidson High School. She studied sociology at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and graduated in 1941. After one year at the Pan-American Business School in Richmond, Virginia, Northcott went to work with the registrar at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia.
In 1944, Northcott joined the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and went to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, for basic training. She was then sent to supply school at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1945, her first duty station was in the Naval Supply Depot at Norfolk, Virginia. From January 1946 to 1948, Northcott was assigned to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, as the disbursing officer.
Northcott met Tom Northcott in Memphis and they were married in 1948, when he returned from service in Korea. After Northcott left the WAVES, she worked as a civilian in the disbursing office at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Eleanor Northcott died in 2005.