Eleanor Manke Mensonides, a lifelong resident of the area, went to be with Jesus on September 2015 after a struggle with Lewy Body dementia. She was born in Ripon, California on July 1936, the second child of Gus and Martha Manke. Eleanor grew up on her parents’ farm and learned early how to work hard at all sorts of chores, like feeding chickens and cows, gathering eggs, and picking peaches. She attended schools in Modesto, graduating from Modesto High in 1954. She earned an Associates degree in bookkeeping from Modesto Junior College in 1956 and worked in various secretarial positions at places like California Vegetable Concentrates and Foster Farms.
Eleanor’s heart, though, was always that of a farm girl, and it was her dream to marry a dairy farmer. That dream came true when she met Pete Mensonides right after Christmas in 1958. Eleanor loved to tell the story of how she and Pete met while “dragging [cruising] Tenth Street” after church on a Sunday night. She would say that she could tell Pete was a nice boy because he was wearing a suit, which clearly meant he’d been to church. Eleanor and Pete were married in Modesto in 1960. Eventually they moved to their dairy in Hughson, where they raised two daughters. Eleanor frequently talked about how wonderful it was that God providentially had led her to study bookkeeping and gave her lightning-quick 10-key skills, as this enabled her to work alongside Pete and keep the books for the dairy, something she continued to do until a fall in late 2012 caused her to become wheelchair-bound and accelerated the effects of dementia.
During her life, Eleanor was a very energetic person, someone who liked to stay busy. A gifted pianist and accordion player, Eleanor volunteered her talents over the years, playing for children’s Sunday school classes and entertaining patients at nursing homes. She loved to talk on the phone and was great at staying in touch with friends and relatives. She could be cheerful and encouraging but would always tell you exactly what she thought. One of her special hobbies, something very few people close to her ever knew about, was distributing gospel tracts and bluntly telling any stranger who would listen about Jesus and the need for salvation through Him. In her own way, she truly was “not ashamed of the Gospel.”
Eleanor was a wonderful wife, mom, and grandmother. Her tell-it-like-she-saw-it honesty, her can-do attitude, her generosity, and her encouragement will be greatly missed.
Eleanor is survived by her husband Pete, daughters Joan (Jeff) Hathcote and Susan (Matt) Greer; grandchildren Natalie, Cassidy, Jacob, Jillian, Tyler, and Kayla; brothers Arnold (Naomi) Manke and Fred Manke; sister-in-law Phyllis Manke, many Mensonides (and Van der Hoek and Jacobi) brothers- and sisters-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Dorothea Manke, and brother Arthur Manke.
Visitation will be on Friday, September 11, at Allen Mortuary from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Services will be held on Saturday, September 12, at Crossroads Church in Turlock, 10:00 a.m. Burial to follow at Lakewood Memorial Park.
The family would like to thank Eleanor’s in-home caregivers, particularly Toni, Bianca, Tiffany, Mary Jo, Charlene, Terry, and Debbie, for working diligently to make Eleanor’s last years comfortable.
Remembrances can be made in Eleanor’s name to the Modesto Gospel Mission.