Eleanor Locke Cunliffe (1917 - 2014)

Obituary
  • "Mrs. Cunliffe was my kindergarten teacher at San Lorenzo..."
    - Suzanne Foley
  • "Deepest condolences to the family, May the peace of God be..."

ELEANOR LOCKE CUNLIFFE Eleanor Locke Cunliffe died on March 30, 2014 at 97 years old. Eleanor was born on February 22, 1917 in Chicago, IL. Her parents were Leslie Lee and Eleanor (Adams) Locke. She was named Leslie Eleanor, using the first names of both her parents. She was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Neil Duane Cunliffe, in 2001 and by her sister, Mildred Locke Lane, in 2013. Eleanor is survived by her daughter, Terrie Lee Cunliffe Beamer and her husband, Wesley G. Beamer, of Northeast Harbor, Maine; three granddaughters, Erica N. Beamer Bastian and her husband, Gilbert Bastian, of Dudelange, Luxembourg; Gillian L. Beamer and her husband, Orin Parvin, of Westborough, Massacuhsetts; and Celine A. Shepherd and her husband, David Shepherd, of Missoula, Montana. Eleanor also has six great grandchildren, a niece, and two nephews. Eleanor grew up in Atwater, California. She studied ballet and piano as a child, and became a talented dancer and pianist. She started giving private piano lessons at age 15 and accompanied church choirs. Eleanor was self employed as a piano teacher from her late teens to her 50s. She continued to play the piano for relaxation into her early 90's. As a young woman, Eleanor was active in Job's Daughters and became Queen of Bethel 79 in Los Angeles. Then, she joined Atwater Chapter 552, Order of Eastern Star, and was a member for over 50 years. She graduated John Marshall High School in Los Angeles in 1933. Although the Depression caused a break in her college education, Eleanor graduated from University of California at Los Angeles in June 1938 with a Bachelor of Education (Ed.B) degree and special secondary credential in music and general elementary education. While at UCLA, she joined Beta Epslon Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority and continued to be a member for over 75 years. Eleanor and her husband, Neil, married on June 22, 1941 at her parent's home. Eleanor and Neil enjoyed ballroom and square dancing, and horseback riding while courting. After Neil was discharged from the Navy at the end of World War II, Eleanor and Neil moved to Sylmar, California. They continued square dancing and horseback riding, and added camping to their list of activities. Baking light and dark fruit cakes to give family and friends at Christmas was a tradition for many years. Eleanor became a leader in Sylmar Women's club, was active in Business and Professional Woman's Association, and served as a 4-H club leader for several years. In 1952, after Neil became ill with Guilliane-Barre syndrome, Eleanor obtained a position teaching kindergarten at Beachy Avenue Elementary School in Arleta, CA and continued to teach kindergarten there for 16 years. She often purchased supplies for her kindergarteners to make silhouettes, valentine cards, or handprints in clay. Her husband and daughter were recruited to cut out silhouettes or do other things to prepare pieces for kindergarteners' craft projects. In 1968, Eleanor and Neil moved to King City, CA where they lived in Pine Canyon for over 20 years. Eleanor taught kindergarten at San Lorenzo Elementary School in King City until she retired from teaching in 1979. In 1973, she was recognized as a local Outstanding Elementary Teacher of America. In 1986, Eleanor and Neil moved to Paradise, CA. She accompanied a Paradise choral group for several years and enjoyed volunteer work as a docent at Gold Nugget Museum. As Eleanor wished her ashes will be placed with her husband at San Joaquin National Cemetery. Donations in her memory may be made to Feather River Hospice or Gold Nugget Museum in Paradise, CA. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.bidwellchapel.com
Published in Paradise Post on Apr. 9, 2014
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