FORT PIERCE - Mary Elouise Burns Longstreet died peacefully at her daughter Tiffany Broome's home in Chuluota, Florida on November 25, 2013. Elouise was preceded in death by her husband of 43 years, James J. Longstreet; mother, Lilly Belle Brock; father, Wilson Arthur Burns; sister, Julia Genevieve Morris; and brother, Dr. L. Dale Simmons. Elouise was born in Cumberland, Maryland May 24, 1918 and raised in West Virginia. She graduated from Roncervert High School where she played first chair violin and was a member of the Roncevert Girls Club. She attended the Disciples of Christ Christian Church in Elkins West Virginia and later the First Christian Church. A member of the Greatest Generation, she left the West Virginia mountains to work in Baltimore, Maryland assembling munitions for the war effort. In Baltimore she was hired by National Cash Register Company and advanced to supervisory duties. She was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia where she met and Married her husband "Jimmy". The couple started their family and lived in Norfolk and Charlottesville, Virginia until being transferred to Fort Pierce, Florida. She was a resident of Fort Pierce's South Beach Surfside community for half a century and loved the beach and river environment in which her family thrived. Elouise became a well known and respected artist in the Treasure Coast area. She was selected as the 1989 Artist of the Year by the Fort Pierce Art League where she also served as Vice President, Historian and Membership Chairperson. The Backus Gallery regularly selected her work for exhibition and she won several awards in four-county juried art shows at the gallery. In 2008 she was awarded "The Peoples Choice Award" at Lafferandre Gallery featuring works of "Women of St. Lucie County". She possessed an innate appreciation of style, texture and color, which was apparent in her crafts, home decoration and creative sewing. Her preferred art medium was oil but she also worked with acrylics and watercolors. With oil on canvas, using brush and palette knife techniques, depth and texture were achieved bringing life to the subject. She began her formal art instruction at Indian River Community College (IRSC) and continued under the expert direction of local artists such as Lea Shaw and Helen Van Wyk. Elouise loved to walk on surfside beach and the south jetty, to read, and to cook. A 35 year breast cancer survivor, she always had a positive outlook on life, loved music and dancing and had a mischievous sparkle in her eyes. Her greatest treasure was her children and grandchildren and being actively involved in their lives. She is survived by daughters, Julia Baggett (Don) of Lake City, Tiffany Broome (Jim) of Chuluota and Denise Stonecipher (Paul) of Banner Elk, North Carolina. She is also survived by her son, James Longsteet (Robin) of Fort Pierce. She has ten grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Donations in honor of Elouise may be made to VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, 2201 Lucien Way, Suite 100, Maitland, Florida 32751 or to Backus Gallery, 500 North Indian River Drive, Fort Pierce, Florida 34950.
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Published in NewsZapFL on Dec. 18, 2013