Eloise Frances (Oak) Stuart (1926 - 2014)

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Eloise Frances Oak Stuart, 87, of Jacksonville, died Monday, March 17, 2014, at Passavant Hospital Transitional Care Unit in Jacksonville.

She was born Oct. 31, 1926, in Taylor Ridge, the daughter of Kenneth and Laura Mueller Oak. She met the Rev. Samuel L. Stuart at the University of Dubuque while employed in the cafeteria. He asked her roommate if she was dating anyone, which led to their eventual courtship. They were married on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1950, at the Edgington Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Alfred Beher officiating and the Rev. Dr. Willard Frost (Samuel's grandfather) assisting. During the course of their almost 65-year marriage, Eloise and Samuel traveled to many countries throughout the world, including Russia, United Kingdom, Canada, Guatemala, and Israel.

Eloise is survived by her husband; three children, Naomi Duvendack (husband, Randy) of Jacksonville, Becky Keithley (husband, Dennis) of Jacksonville, and Joel Stuart (wife, Jill) of Olathe, Kan.; seven grandchildren, Laura Duvendack and Sarah Duvendack, both of Bloomington, Holly Saxer (husband, J.D.) of Jacksonville, Elizabeth Clary (husband, Andrew) of Washington, Mo., Naomi Neal (husband, David) of Webster Groves, Mo., Tamara Frazier of Granite City, and Paul Watkins (wife, Keri) of New York, N.Y.; 13 great-grandchildren, Brandon, Monay and Rakia Duvendack, Quin and Griffin Saxer, Lydia, Nora and Oliver Clary, Bergen, Rowan and Adalyn Eloise Neal, and Ada and Bryn Frazier; two brothers, Marvin Oak (deceased wife, June) and Marion Oak (wife, Dorothy), both of Taylor Ridge; and several nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Stuart was educated in a one room schoolhouse and later graduated from the University of Dubuque with a degree in Christian Education. She was first employed by a finance company in Dubuque, IA, and later tended to her many homemaking and maternal duties prior to their move to St. Louis. In St. Louis, Eloise taught physical education in a Catholic school dedicated to caring for troubled girls and later served as an Early Childhood educator for many years. Eloise and Samuel resided in Dubuque, Iowa, Oronoco, Minn., Jonesville, Mich., Hazelwood, Mo., and Florissant, Mo., before their final move to Jacksonville in 1989 to be near their daughters.

Eloise was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville and the Point West Ladies group. She loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and created a unique quilt for each of them in anticipation of their arrival. In her spare time, she loved reading humorous books and solving crossword puzzles. An avid gardener, Eloise spent hours tending her backyard garden, picking beans, harvesting raspberries, and fighting weeds. She faithfully canned dozens of quarts of tomatoes each year.

A talented cook, Eloise's special cinnamon rolls will be greatly missed by all. She also enjoyed creating special dishes in her kitchen, including her famous "Dinner in a Pumpkin," which was always served at her Halloween birthday parties. Most folks believed that her pie crusts could simply not be challenged.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville with the Rev. Dr. John Kay officiating. Burial will follow at Diamond Grove Cemetery in Jacksonville. The family will meet friends at the church from 9:30 a.m. Saturday until the time of services. Memorial gifts are suggested to First Presbyterian Church or Passavant Hospital Foundation to benefit the Transitional Care Unit. The Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home in Jacksonville is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family online at
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Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home, Jacksonville Chapel
1100 Lincoln Ave.
Jacksonville, IL 62650
(217) 243-4000
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Published in Jacksonville Journal-Courier on Mar. 19, 2014