Eleanor L. Hanke
Eleanor Louise Hanke died on Oct. 16, 2016, at Samaritan Bethany Home on Eighth in Rochester. Eleanor was born on Nov. 2, 1922, in Olmsted County, to Edward and Freda (Predmore) Kester. Eleanor graduated at age 16 from Eyota High School in 1939 as the class Valedictorian. Along with being a valedictorian came a $300 scholarship to continue her studies at Rochester Junior College. Eleanor worked the rest of that summer for $3 a week to earn money for books. She worked for her room and board for a local dentist, Dr. Robert E. Miner. While attending Rochester Junior College, she was swept off her feet by William E. Hanke. They were married on Dec. 28, 1940, for almost 74 years. During the war years, she traveled with Bill to Camp Riverside in California and to the shipyards of Oregon. Upon returning to Rochester, she worked as a seamstress and sewing instructor at the Singer Store in Rochester. She took care of their young son while Bill fought in World War II. Upon Bill's return they worked together to build three family homes from the ground up. She went back to Rochester Junior College in 1963 and graduated in 1965. This was the same year that her daughter, Linda, graduated from John Marshall High School. At this time, it was almost unheard of for a married woman to go back to school. Education was very important to Eleanor and she set the example for her children to pursue an education. Eleanor graduated from Winona State College in 1968 with a degree in business education. She taught at Zumbrota High School for the 1968 - 1969 school year. She then was hired by Saint Marys Hospital to write the curriculum to train unit secretaries. She continued to teach new unit secretaries until her retirement in 1980. Eleanor always wanted to retire someplace warm in the winters, so they built another home in Horshoe Bend, Ark. She enjoyed traveling the country with her husband in a small "acorn" trailer and later a motor home. She and Bill returned to Rochester in 1991 and built another home. This time it was a townhome. Eleanor enjoyed sewing her own clothes and had made several outfits for children and grandchildren throughout the years. When her daughter Linda was young, she made elaborate doll clothes. She used her skills to make curtains, bed skirts, tablecloths and anything else she needed. She also completed several Norwegian Hardanger embroideries of white thread on white woven cloth. She enjoyed hosting family night Sequence or cribbage games. These were often teams of boys against girls from three generations and winning was important! Eleanor and Bill downsized again into a new complex called Grammercy Park Cooperative on Arthur Lane in NW Rochester. They had many years of involvement at this location before moving again to The Homestead of Rochester. Eleanor was preceded in death by her husband, parents, three brothers, two sisters and a son-in-law, David Grabau. She is survived by four children, Barry (Diana) of Rochester, Linda Grabau of Racine, Paul (Donna) of Urbana, Ill., and Joan (Joseph) Lucas of Stewartville; eight grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. The family is extremely grateful for the help from the staff of Samaritan-Bethany Home on Eighth, Home Instead staff, The Homestead of Rochester staff, Dr. Paul Takahashi and the Rev. Dr. Teresa Roberts. Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21, at Congregational Church U.C.C. in Rochester, with the Rev. Dr. Roberts officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service Friday at the church. Burial will be in Grandview Memorial Gardens. To share a special memory or condolence, please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.
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