Eleanor M. Hughes
April 30, 1930 - April 8, 2021
Eleanor Margaret Hughes (King) was born in Chewelah, WA, on April 30, 1930. She said you could get to everything in town by walking three blocks. She passed away peacefully on April 8, 2021, in Wenatchee WA. Her age? She was a teacher, you do the math, and please show your work.
Eleanor did well in school. Her third grade teacher, Hope Weitman, said, "Eleanor is a willing, dependable, and resourceful worker. Her year's work has been well done. She is promoted to fourth grade." While she was known for good behavior, she was not shenanigan free; for instance, when she found her father's supply of chewing gum and tested the whole supply, leaving a trail of wrappers.
From high school musicals, the Music Theater of Wenatchee, and "Hams At Heart", at her winter getaway in Arizona, she enjoyed singing and being a member of the cast. As a teenager, due to a family trip to England that was extended, she missed the first weeks of the school year. With fewer class choices she ended up in band with the only available school instrument, a tuba. No doubt a petite 5'3" woman carrying a tuba turned some heads!
At Washington State College in Pullman, Eleanor was an editor on the "Washington State Evergreen" school newspaper. She enjoyed social activities, including dancing with any boy who asked. But it was in the WSC band, that she met trumpet player Robert. They were married December 26, 1950, in Chewelah. Her first child, Susan, was born in 1954, with Pamela, Douglas, and Barbara to follow. No doubt that being a mom was a true calling, and of course, an opportunity to hone her patience skills. The family had fond memories of time together, especially story time on the couch.
For a short time, Eleanor worked for the Wenatchee World newspaper, however, there was something that motivated her toward teaching. After a brief summer school session at Eastern Washington University, in Cheney, WA, she student-taught for a year, then started teaching third grade at Kenroy Elementary. Bob would later say, "I knew you would love teaching!" Teaching was to become one of her greatest passions. In her quiet and understanding way, she was able to connect with students across the spectrum of abilities and especially, when they had problems that others had missed. On occasion she would follow the adage, "Ask forgiveness rather than permission" when doing what was best for her class. For instance, a higher grade needed new books and the publishing company offered a great deal if all the grades were included. But the new books were lacking, in her opinion, so she quietly placed them on the bottom shelf of a cabinet and continued to use the more appropriate (and still completely serviceable) books.
Eleanor loved to sew and was very capable. She would sew a new "First Day of School" dress each year. She canned dozens of quarts of cherries, peaches, and apricots each year. The basement shelves were always packed with preserved fruit along with jams.
Being out of school in the summer gave her the opportunity to catch up on housework, but she was out picking cherries with the crew at the Hughes' cherry orchard. One day when Bob had left on an errand, Eleanor was picking at the top of a ladder when the wind came up and blew the ladder over. She was able to find a place to stand on a branch but was unable to get down. When Bob returned he walked by, then looked up and said, "What are you doing up there?"
While there was some talk of putting in a pool at the house, it never happened, so for years she would stop by the city pool to swim a mile before school. Students would comment, "You smell like pool!" One thing she didn't like was being called "Playground!" by kids at recess.
Eleanor loved her family and her family reunions. Visiting was her primary activity, but she also enjoyed seeing local sights and had her favorite spot next to the net when playing volleyball.
When her kids started to move away, she and Bob took up new activities such as cross country skiing, square dancing, and spending winters in Arizona at Venture Out. They did each of these activities with a passion and loved sharing them with family members. One granddaughter, Nicole, spent a school break there and had Grandma all to herself going to hobby activities, pizza, and driving the golf cart (and getting Grandma in trouble for allowing an underage driver).
Summer, and later retirement travel, included trips to Oregon, California, and Colorado, to see grandkids, a new passion to pursue. Venture Out continued to be a winter destination, after Bob passed away. The supportive community and warm weather agreed with Eleanor and she continued the social activities, as well as actively participating in the local "Hams at Heart" theater company and singing in church.
Back in Wenatchee, she moved to a smaller condo across the street from her lifelong friend and sister, Gwyneth Thorsen. She continued to attend the East Wenatchee First Baptist Church with the help of rides after she quit driving. Eventually, she did a trial at RiverWest Retirement Community in Wenatchee and decided that joining that community was the next logical step.
Eleanor was a warm and caring person, slow to anger, quick to encourage and teach. She worked hard, but made it look easy. Christmas stockings and Easter baskets were always filled, elbows were always bandaged. She demonstrated the ability to smile and laugh, when she called dinner was ready, it was with a song in her voice. She knew when and what to say, when offering advice. She enjoyed the arts, concerts in the park, school programs, plays, and especially when kids were involved like the Short Shakespeareans of Wenatchee and the Wenatchee Youth Circus.
She followed the example of Christ in Acts 10:38 and "...went about doing good"
A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held at East Wenatchee First Baptist Church, 1700 Grant Rd., East Wenatchee, WA, on May 14, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. Remote access via zoom: Meeting ID: 934 4730 5153 Passcode: 499177