Eureath Josclyn (Gillispie) Horning is absent from her body and present with her Lord. On July 1, 2012, at 94 years of age, in the arms of her daughter Lorie, she departed this earth for heaven. Eureath was an extraordinary woman, particular, strong of body and spirit, a faithful friend, loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Born March 16, 1918 in Rose Hill, Kansas, on an oil lease, Eureath's parents, Clem and Viola (Fuller) Gillispie registered her birth in Augusta, the county seat. Her family moved to San Jose, California when she was 6 years old.
She attended Herbert Hoover Jr. High and San Jose High School, graduating in 1936. She was seen on campus by her future husband, John A. Horning. who turned to his friend and announced, "There goes the girl I'm going to marry".
She was a member of San Jose, CA. First Baptist Church located in downtown San Jose (her mother was a founding member), the First Baptist Church on 6th in Anchorage, AK, and attended Glacier Valley Baptist Church in Juneau, AK.
During summer vacations, she worked for the Barron Gray cannery in San Jose, CA. She worked at a gas station after graduation and later became the station's manager.
On July 5, 1940 she married John Horning in Gardnerville, Nevada. Their son, Denis John, was born in 1943 in San Jose, CA. At the end of WWII, John became a pilot for United Airlines and the family moved to the Renton, WA area.
In 1946, Eureath and John moved with their young son to Anchorage, Alaska and bought a cabin on Cordova Street, which was considered the outskirts of town. John flew for Alaska Airlines with several notable flights which were reported in the Anchorage newspapers. In 1947, a daughter Loraine Eureath was born and another daughter, Arlene Leola, in 1955.
While living on Cordova Street, she became active in the Denali Elementary Parents and Teachers Association and was elected president in 1952. She served as president of the first PTA Council for the organization of Alaska's territorial PTAs. Under her leadership, Alaska was admitted to the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. She served as President of the Alaska Congress of Parents and Teachers from 1957 to 1959. Articles from the Anchorage newspapers found in her hope chest documented the PTAs progression to national recognition.
In the early 1960's, she and her husband filed for a Federal Land Grant along the railroad in the Talkeetna area. Proving up on the homestead involved clearing the land, planting and cultivation of crops. They built a cabin on the banks of Birch Creek with the help of friends and neighbors. Eureath enjoyed developing her garden, hiking to visit neighbors, fishing, cutting and splitting wood, driving the tractor, and reading in the winter by the warmth of a wood stove. She recounted the homesteading years with many fond memories.
Eureath began working for the Anchorage School District in the late 60's, as a supply clerk at Central Junior High. She joined the staff of Principal Dee Durst in the opening of Bartlett High School. She worked in the office at Bartlett until her retirement.
In May 1967, the National Congress of Parents and Teachers awarded Eureath a life membership as a tribute to the valuable service she had given in behalf of children and youth. This was the highest honor that could be bestowed by that organization.
On February 27, 1992, Eureath was recognized by citation from the 17th Alaska State Legislature for her leadership and significant contribution to providing "a stronger educational footing" for Alaska's children. In that citation, State Representative Bettye Davis stated, "I can truly say that your commitment has made a difference".
In 1998, she moved to Juneau, Alaska to live with her daughter Lorie, and her son-in-"love", Tom Weed. She enjoyed many vacation trips with them throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. On one of her favorite trips, she served as navigator on a motorhome adventure across the Western and Midwestern United States, which included a visit to Rose Hill, Kansas, her birth place.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brother, Waldo Jean, and her husband, John.
She is survived by: Denis Horning, Anchorage, Lorie & Tom Weed, Juneau, and Arlene & Danny Blanton, New Mexico. She is survived by her grandchildren: Michelle Sturgell (Jay), David Horning (Laura), Jonathan Horning (Sarah), Kristine Shepherd, Nathan Weed (Lori), and Brian Weed (Mareta); and her great-grandchildren: Emily, Micah L., Samuel, Katie Rose, Ryan, Kayla, Micah J., Tyler and Rahel. She leaves a nephew, nieces, and many friends in San Jose, CA.
A celebration of her life was held at Lorie & Tom's home in Juneau. Internment was at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.
The family wishes to thank Bambi McGaughey and Sarah Midkiff for the help and encouragement they gave to Mom. Thanks to Hospice and Home Care of Juneau, the on-call nurses, office staff, answering service, volunteers and particularly, Nancy Woods, RN, Cathy Riederer, RN and Christy, CNA (soon to be an RN), for the tender care and support to Eureath and her family. Thanks also to the excellent doctors, nurses, and staff at Valley Medical Care, particularly Dr. Anya Maier, Mom's primary care physician. To Dr. William Palmer, Dr. Joseph Riederer, and John T. Connolly (anesthesiologist) who operated on Mom in April of 2005. Thank you for giving us over seven additional years with our mother.
Published in The Juneau Empire from July 20 to July 25, 2012
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