Escondido, CA—Eleanor S. Atkins, 96, an extraordinary woman, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother passed in her sleep on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at Escondido Post-Acute Rehab.
She leaves her daughters, Christie and Sheila and her sons, James and Mark; granddaughters Jesica and Shelby; three great-grandchildren along with an immense number of friends and colleagues.
Born in Werner, North Dakota on July 16, 1923 she was the oldest daughter of a coal miner-farmer and sister to two younger brothers, living with the family in a one room barracks-like house with no electricity or indoor plumbing using kerosene lamps and a wood stove for cooking and heating. The family had two dairy cows for milk to use and sell plus chickens for eating and selling in town, purchasing chicks 100 at a time from Minneapolis that arrived by train. She attended school in a one-room schoolhouse.
In 1940, her father not wanting his two sons to have to work in the coal mines, moved the family to Wenatchee, WA. The whole family picked apples while he found permanent work.
In 1941, Eleanor attended St. Joseph’s Hospital nursing school. She worked at the school for all three years to pay her tuition, books, room & board. She graduated in 1944 as a Registered Nurse (RN).
She joined the Army Nurses Corps and after cadet training she was assigned as a Second Lieutenant to Fairbanks, Alaska working in general nursing for soldiers at the army hospital for the duration of the war. She was discharged in 1946.
She moved to Central Oregon working in a hospital for two years. She moved to California in 1948 and worked at Oakland area hospitals and doctor’s offices. She met her future husband, Roy, on a blind date, thinking he was a “nice guy.” They married in 1949 and were married for 67 years until Roy’s passing in 2016.
They bought their first home in San Bruno, CA. They soon moved down the peninsula to Redwood City for better weather and raised all three children there until 1965 when the family moved to South Lake Tahoe, CA where they bought a five-unit apartment building as a family business. She continued her nursing career at Barton Memorial Hospital until retirement.
She was a highly accomplished and admired seamstress, creating many custom pieces of clothing and household decorating items through the years. She enjoyed playing bridge with church friends and was a Girl Scout troop leader for her daughter’s scout troop, teaching the technique for hospital corners on beds, among other life skills. In retirement, she and her husband enjoyed traveling the US and Canada in their 5th Wheel trailer. They built two custom homes in Nevada before moving to Hemet, CA to be closer to her youngest son and his children.
Her retirement years were also dedicated to hospice work for both transitioning seniors as well as a custom hospice program created to help elementary school children experiencing the loss of a family member.
In 2013, they moved to Escondido, CA.
She was a gentle, kind and caring woman who was loved by all who met her and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
A service is scheduled for October 10 at 10:30 AM at Miramar National Cemetery, 5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego, CA 92122.
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