October 1921 - May 2011
Our beloved Mother / Grandmother passed peacefully Saturday morning at the age of 89. Eleanor Marie Hillestad was born in Knox, ND to Leonard and Stella Hillestad on October 28, 1921. She graduated from high school in 1938 and married Verdeen Hartvickson in 1939. In 1945, Verdeen came to Turlock, CA looking for work and she soon followed on the train with their three sons. Four more children were born in Turlock, where she lived for the remainder of her life.
During Eleanor's working career she held several seasonal positions at G.W. Hume Cannery in Turlock, many as an area supervisor or "Floor Lady," as well as seasonal positions at Turlock Refrigeration and Patterson Frozen Foods in Patterson, CA. The G. W. Hume plant changed names through the years and was owned by Tri Valley Growers when she retired after 38 years in 1986. She loved working with people and made many enduring friendships during her career.
Eleanor was widowed in 1966 and left to raise six-year-old twins. Within a few years, she took up square dancing and joined a local dance club, Turlock Steppin' Pards, where she expanded her circle of friends. While square dancing she met Larry Wragg, whose friendship she enjoyed for the last 14 years of her life. Eleanor enjoyed her home and was blessed to have the company and friendship of the Ramirez family next door. Lena and Mom would share coffee, stories and laughter on a regular basis. Family was everything to Mom/Grandma. She loved to spend time with her children and grandkids and looked forward to family gatherings. It was evident through her life that Eleanor was kind, generous and had a great sense of humor.
Eleanor was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Verdeen, and her brother Buster (Juline) Hillestad. She is survived by her seven children: Elvern (Emilie), Gary (Donna), Howard (Vangie, recently deceased), Leon (Barbara), Lana Lopes (Allen), Norma Cederlind (Kevin), and Norman. Grandchildren: Dawn Nelson, Sharon Romero, Rochelle Roberts, Kirsten Beery, Tanya Lopes, Lee Hartvickson, Heather Hartvickson, David Hartvickson, Holly Kindle, Hans Hartvickson, Haley Barrile, Zack Cederlind and Blake Cederlind. She has 15 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. She is also survived by two sisters, Marion Johnson of Wasilla, AK and Delores Scott of Portland, Oregon.
Services are entrusted to Allen Mortuary. Viewing will be Wednesday, May 25th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. A funeral service for Eleanor will follow at Allen Mortuary on Thursday, May 26th 2011 at 1 p.m., concluding with burial at Turlock Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made in Eleanor's honor to the American Heart Association File 30947 P.O. Box 60000, San Francisco, CA 94160 or Hospice of Emanuel 825 Delbon Avenue Turlock, CA 95382.