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Eleanor Martinson Masden of Galesburg (formerly of Avon) passed away on March 2, 2018 at 6:44 p.m. at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL after a brief illness. She was born on Friday, October 1, 1928 at Galesburg Cottage hospital, the daughter of Ellen (Johnson) Martinson and Lawrence T. Martinson, the second of seven children.
Eleanor is survived by her daughters Carol (S. David) Simpson of Galesburg and Susan (Jeffrey) Moore of Good Hope; three grandchildren, Allison Fornander of Galesburg, Tom Fornander of Madison, WI and Dr. Sarah (Dr. Ryan Nagele) Stone of Mission, KS. Her two great-granddaughters, Brooklyn and Gabriella were her great joy. She had a special relationship with her step-grandchildren and families: Michelle, Tim, Christopher and Michael Swanson; Jamie, Naomi, Nadia, Sophia, Jake and Barrett Simpson; Mike, Terra, Izzy and Maya Simpson; Philippe Moore and Torin Widhammer; Cecile Moore and Gabriel Hopson. She is also survived by two brothers, Gene and Omer Martinson and two sisters, Joann Reisenbigler and Jeanette Schulz and many nieces and nephews.
Her husband and two brothers, (Ted and Julian Martinson) as well as her parents preceded her in death.
She attended schools in Galesburg and Wataga, graduating from Sparta Township high school in 1946 as the salutatorian of her class. If Title IX had been enacted in the ‘40s, she would have participated in whatever sports were offered, and enjoyed contests with her brothers. She sang in the choir and was a strong supporter of her siblings. She attended Western Illinois State Teachers College, majoring in home economics and was assigned a handsome lab partner (Robert E. Masden) in chemistry class whom she married on September 18, 1948. They began their long marriage in Champaign where Robert graduated from the University of Illinois and Eleanor worked for the university. In 1950, Eleanor and Bob moved to a farm near Avon where they farmed until their retirement in 1992, raising their two daughters.
Eleanor enthusiastically embraced the life of a farm wife even though she was, admittedly, a city girl. Eleanor’s domain was her home and she worked hard keeping it spotless, sewing clothes flawlessly and especially creating healthy, delicious meals long before it became popular to focus on nutrition. Had she had the opportunity, she might have enticed George H. W. Bush to eat his broccoli. After retiring from the farm, the couple moved to Galesburg. Eleanor was a lifelong learner who continued to study nutrition and healthy living and put into practice what she learned. She also lovingly shared her vast knowledge with others, enriching their lives in the process. She earned her 100-mile T-shirt from Cottage hospital rehab. After retirement, Eleanor and Bob also traveled, usually on farm-related tours, and enjoyed meeting other farm couples, seeing how the rest of the world farmed.
She tirelessly supported her husband’s and daughters’ activities and later those of her grandchildren. She struggled with challenging physical ailments in her later years, but was able to stay in her own home without help for 10 years after Bob’s death in 2005. From the outset of her diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease in 1988, she began a daily exercise routine that caused her to keep her physical mobility long after the norm. No one close to her ever heard a word of complaint. Due to her limited mobility three years ago the competent, loving ladies from Western Illinois Managed Home Health began providing care in her home. The caregivers also became her close friends and her family is eternally grateful to Alice and her team of caregivers. If not all of them were Cubs’ fans in the beginning, they were by the time the season ended. Her mental faculties were so sharp she remembered details of a wide range of subjects, often stumping her daughters on matters they should have remembered. If anything, her mind improved as her body began to fail. She listened every morning to the farm commodity reports and enjoyed Silver Streaks and Illinois basketball. She was a lifelong Lutheran
and was a 50+ year member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Galesburg. To say her family will miss her constant prayers on their behalf would be an understatement.
Visitation will be held from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Galesburg, IL, followed by the funeral at 11:00 a.m. A brief graveside service will be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Avon Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Trinity Lutheran Church or a charity of the donor’s choice. Please sign the online guestbook at www.wisefamilyfuneralhome.com. Wise Family Hoover Roseville, IL is in charge of the arrangements.