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Eleanor Kelsey French
May 21, 1919 - February 10, 2014
Resident of Santa Cruz
"Sweet and lovely, sweeter than roses in May" - Words from a song by Frankie Carle perfectly describe Eleanor French. From her sweet smile and her lovely demeanor to her birthday in May. Sadly, our sweet and lovely Eleanor was taken from us on February 10th. She loved music and while she didn't sing or play an instrument, her home was filled with the music of the times-Glen Miller, Dorsey brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra etc, and she loved to dance. The first thing she would do every morning was turn on the radio to her favorite music station and the music would play all day, an enjoyment that endured her entire life.
Born in Sausalito, CA, on May 21st, 1919, Eleanor grew up in San Diego where she shared her childhood with her beloved sister, Lois. Her life changed dramatically when Eleanor came north to San Jose State and met her future husband, Mortimer French. She always talked about how the city girl married the country boy, the son of a pioneering Santa Clara Valley pear grower who himself followed in his fathers footsteps becoming a pear grower.
Together, Mort and Eleanor created their lives on a ranch in San Jose- an area once known as "The Valley of the Hearts Delight". They built their home, reared three children and doted on grand children and great grand children. They had a wide circle of friends and family and loved nothing more than a good party, a festive BBQ or fun-filled holiday gatherings. It can't be left unsaid that Eleanor and Mort didn't enjoy a cocktail or two.
The center of Eleanor's life was her husband to whom she was married for 61years, and her three children, Marilee, Bruce and Craig. She was the quintessential homemaker and the queen of casseroles. She enjoyed knitting and making sweaters, blankets, caps for arriving children and grandchildren. She had a wonderful circle of friends and belonged to several community organizations. There was the Allenian group, the Country Bridge group, her sisters from PEO, the Ladies Who Lunch Group, Stanford Children's Hospital Auxiliary, Service League, among many.
Eleanor and Mort enjoyed many travel adventures-the infamous family trip to Mexico involving a car caravan of 30 people, two whole family trips to Hawaii, the road trip to Alaska in the "Pear Bin" with the grandchildren, and many other trips to Europe and around the U.S. Of special importance and the location of much enjoyment to Eleanor and Mort was the beach house on Lawn Way in Capitola, the scene of many enchilada parties and family BBQ's. A fourth generation of French's is now enjoying the pleasures of Lawn Way.
Our "sweet and lovely" Eleanor is survived by her sister, Lois Tierney, her three children, Marilee, Bruce and his wife Billie, Craig and his wife Mimi, grandchildren Leslie Ferrera, Brent (Cresent) Ferrera, Wendy (Tim) Riley, Jeniffer (Chris) Murray, Ryan
(Ashley) French, Brodie (Ashley) French, Kate (Jon) Kropf, and 10 great grandchildren.
"Fare thee well, Mama's gone good-by" (her favorite song sung by Kay Star). We miss her so!.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Feb. 16, 2014
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"I have great memories of Eleanor. This is a sad time for all the wonderful people she has left behind."
- Susan Bell
"Love you always Grandma"
- Kate Kropf
"PEACE BE WITH YOU LOVELY NEIGHBOR."
- NORMA KETTMANN
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