Elaine Jane Draves
1920 - 2020
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Elaine Jane Draves

Born: May 2, 1920

Died: May 14, 2020

Elaine Jane Draves, 100, of DeKalb, Ill., died May 14, 2020. She was born May 2, 1920, in Milledgeville, the daughter of Reese and Irma (Shugars) Bain. When she was four years old, she went to live with foster parents, Harper and Grace Shirley. Harper and his brother brought her home in a horse-drawn surrey with a fringe on top. She married John Draves on October 22, 1936, in Oregon, IL. She and John met at a square dance where John played guitar and harmonica in the band and winked at her while he performed. Her favorite song was, "Let Me Call You Sweetheart."

Elaine remembered when East State Street in Rockford was a gravel road. She attended elementary school in one-room schools and was one of six students in her class at Leaf River High School. Elaine raised her family in Kirkland. She loved being a housewife and mother. She put her children's needs above her own, had a lot of common sense, and made do with what was available.

Elaine grew large gardens and canned countless quarts of fruits and vegetables. She loved to bake and cook. A meal was not complete without meat, potatoes, and vegetable. She made the best angel food cake from scratch. She clipped coupons and recipes. Elaine was an accomplished seamstress remaking items of clothing into something new and enjoyed sewing several sets of large Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. She crocheted doilies and several afghans.

Elaine was employed at the Free Sewing Machine Company, Tuttle Electric, Hiawatha Schools cook, Falls Products, Kishwaukee College janitress, housecleaner, and babysitter. She studied to become a Certified Nursing Assistant in the 1960s but a back injury prevented her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse. She avidly read medical books and applied the knowledge learned. She was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, DeKalb, and a former member of the DeKalb County Quilters' Guild.

She moved to University Village, DeKalb, living independently until 97 years old. In 2018 she gave up her independence for a life of leisure and moved into the DeKalb County Rehab/Nursing Center. Here she loved attending all the social activities, church services, and had more time to make friends. Her lifelong goal was to live to be 100 years old, and she made it!

She is survived by her daughter, Jill Draves (Ken Faivre) of DeKalb; grandchildren, Beth Lowery (Ramon Ramos), Joshua Lowery (Lois), Eric Draves, Mark Way (Holly), David Way (Julie); 11 great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandson. As an adult, she was delighted to discover that she was the oldest of 12 children, and is survived by one brother, Maynard (Bonnie); and three sisters, Waletta, Linda and Illene.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 42 years, John; son, John (Christine) Draves; two daughters, Shirley and Jane (Wayne) Way; and brother-in-law, Wendell, husband of Illene.

A huge thank you to the caregivers at DeKalb County Rehab/Nursing Center, Dr. Manav Salwan, and Heartland Hospice nurses for their loving care.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a private family service with Pastor Elizabeth Mascal officiating will be held at Quiram Sycamore Chapel, with burial at Maple Cemetery, Kirkland. Arrangements by Olson Funeral & Cremation Services, Ltd., Quiram Chapels. For information or to leave a message of condolence visit www.olsonfh.com or 815-895-6589.

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Published in The MidWeek News on May 16, 2020.
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