HESSTON - Eleanor J. Hadsell, 96, died Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in the loving presence of family at Schowalter Villa in Hesston. She was a bright, witty, yet humble woman who had a lifelong passion for intellectual growth and development.
Eleanor was born April 16, 1917, to parents Rose (Marik) and Andy Pospisil in Bellaire, Ohio. They preceded her in death. She was the eldest of four children.
Her three siblings survive: Betty (Ray) Pigman of Waterford, Mich., Norman Pospisil of Ravenna, Ohio, and Jean (Tom) Saunders of New Brighton, Pa.
She graduated as class valedictorian from Shadyside High School (Ohio) and pursued her academic studies through Muskingum College and Wayne State University, earning an MA (education). She continued studying briefly toward a Ph.D. through Michigan State University
before stopping to focus on professional and family responsibilities.
It was through Eleanor's love of education and her career choice, elementary teaching, that she met and fell in love with William "Ellis" Hadsell, a fellow teacher. They married in 1942 at United Methodist Church in Shadyside, Ohio. Eleanor and her husband taught elementary grades for decades before retiring from the Waterford Township School District (Mich.).
They enjoyed square dancing and camping with other members of their square dance club. They were active in their community senior center in Waterford and also traveled extensively, making a point of touring nearly every major cave in the United States. She displayed a collection of their geodes wherever she made her home in later life.
Eleanor's husband preceded her in death in 1997, after 54 years of marriage.
Eleanor and her husband were parents of two children, a son, Gary (Connie) Hadsell of Reno, Nev., who survives, and a daughter, Beth "Lynn" (Dennis) Carrier (deceased).
Family was extremely important to Eleanor, who was especially close to her daughter, and later, to her granddaughter, Kerry Grosch of Hesston, and great-granddaughter, Tami Grosch of Newton, both of whom survive.
She relocated to Hesston to be near extended family after her daughter died in 2001. Among other surviving family are three additional grandchildren, including Craig Scott Hadsell of Valley Center; six additional great-grandchildren, including Julie (Dan) Hendricks of Newton and Adam Johnson of North Newton; four great-great-grandchildren; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Eleanor's faith was very evident in her life, from the tattered pages and notes she wrote in the margins of her cherished Bible to her expressed beliefs about reuniting with loved ones in Heaven. She was a member of Central United Methodist Church in Waterford, Mich., and regularly viewed the televised services of First United Methodist Church, Wichita.
Eleanor was an avid reader and appreciated opportunities to compare and contrast authors' writings in faith-related materials. She especially enjoyed visiting with chaplains at Schowalter Villa, Newton Medical Center, Hesston United Methodist Church and Good Shepherd Hospice.
Eleanor remained sharp and articulate through the last days of her life. She was a strong, independent person and regularly voiced a preference for her more independent lifestyle. She made the best of her circumstances and found joy in the simplest things, even as her health declined.
Eleanor cherished the view from her apartment window in Schowalter Villa assisted living as the toddlers played outdoors at the adjacent Intergenerational Child Development Center. She loved children and relished opportunities to quietly celebrate their developmental successes. Eleanor had a tender, compassionate heart: Few knew that she also quietly prayed for the little ones who appeared most in need of supportive hugs.
Eleanor's life will be recognized locally in a memorial service scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, in the chapel at Schowalter Villa, Hesston, with chaplains Wendy Miller and Bill Eichelberger presiding. Cremation has taken place. Interment will be at a later date in Waterford, Mich. Petersen Funeral Home, Newton, is handling arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, please consider giving in ways that support the spirit of Eleanor's beliefs through donating to support children "in need of extra hugs" through the Hesston Intergenerational Child Development Center (441 Neufeld Dr., Hesston, KS 67062) or the Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Center (720 N. Main, Newton, KS 67114).