ORD — Eleanor M. Dowse, 101, died on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, at Valley View Nursing Home in Ord.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Wescott Baptist Church in Comstock, with Pastor Don Schauda officiating. Burial will be in Douglas Grove Cemetery.
Visitation will be on Thursday at Rhoad Funeral Home in Sargent.
Mrs. Dowse was born on May 5, 1912, in Hastings to Frank and Anna (Christensen) Mauk.
She married Philip Dowse in 1930. He died in 2001.
Survivors of the immediate family include four sons and three daughters-in-law, Doyle and Sue of Comstock, Dale and Betty of David City, Raymond of Pierce City, Mo., and Ronald and LeAnn of Comstock; a daughter, Diane Horst of Arnold; 19 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
She was the second child born to Frank and Anna (Christensen) Mauk in Hastings. The young family moved to many places and finally settled in the Sandhills at Seneca.
Eleanor was stolen out of her baby buggy by an Indian lady at a grocery store. The manager soon caught up with the woman and restored the infant to Anna. There were hard times with not much to live on, and the parents parted. Her mother soon married Solomon Erik “Sam” Erikson, who adopted Theresa and Eleanor as his own. They moved near Comstock and three brothers, Don, Ted and Dick, soon joined family.
Eleanor received her education in Comstock and graduated from its high school. Soon after receiving her diploma, she married “a boy, her sweetheart,” Philip Dowse, in 1930. Knowing the story about her early abduction, he often said he almost married a squaw. They made their home in Grand Island, where Philip worked at a body shop. Their son Darrell was born there.
They soon moved back home and lived in several locations southwest of Comstock. They added Doyle, Dale, Diane, Raymond and Ronald to their family. In her own words, these children “are my life, my joy and all. I have been filled with bruises and blessings.” The family home was at Wescott Corners until the late 1970s, when they established their retirement residence in town. Philip died in 2001, ending a 71-year love affair.
Homemaking was at the top of her list. She was well-known for her apple pies, gifts of embroidered needlework, gardening and quilting. Her door was always open to friends. She also loved music and started singing at age 5 with sister Theresa, two years her senior. This continued throughout her life, and she often sang at weddings and funerals. She was one of the Coffee Ladies at the Den, and her fine stitches were in many of the quilts the Den raffled off each Fourth of July. She was grand marshal for that parade one year.
She and Dorothy Dowse were their husbands’ cheerleaders when the Dowse sod house was resurrected from ruin. Eleanor enjoyed attending annual meetings of the Sod House Society and got to share the glory when the soddy received any kind of recognition.
She was faithful to her church, being part of the music, teaching and mission circle programs. In 1964, she was baptized in the Middle Loup River by Pastor Clay Deaver, although she’d been a believer and an active part of the church body for many years. In her own obituary she wrote after Philip died, “Rejoice, I have found my sheep.” She practiced that one Sunday after a stirring sermon on reaching the lost. That afternoon, she went to the Sargent Nursing Home and led a friend to the Lord. The spiritual welfare of her family was uppermost in her mind.
Reaching a ripe old age, she was preceded in death by many of her family and friends, including her husband; son, Darrell; brothers, Don and Dick; and four great-grandchildren.