Eleanor Fleischman was born on the Family farm near Elmwood, to CD and Nora (Stolz) Kunz on May 5, 1916. She was the youngest of their four daughters. She passed away September 24th, 2018 at Legacy Estates at the age of 102.
Her early schooling began at Center School and she could recall walking down the graveled road, which is now Highway 34, to attend school. She continued her education at Elmwood High School, graduating as valedictorian in May 1932 having just turned 16. Due to her father’s death, she stayed home for a year to help her mother before heading to Kearney State College with her cousin and lifelong friend, Erma Kunz Schomaker. After a year of Normal training, she was qualified to teach school. But unable to find a school that year, she worked for one year as a telephone operator in the Elmwood telephone office. Then she went on to teach at Sunny Bank and Mount Hope country schools. She related that for the salary of 70 dollars per month, she would start by bringing in the wood to light the stove, cleaning the school and outhouse, and then take on the challenge of teaching all 8 grades and getting the 8th graders prepared for the testing to enter high school. She completed a second year of college at summer schools.
She married Dale Fleischman October 25, 1941 in the front room of her mother’s home in Elmwood wearing a beautiful burgundy street length dress. She proudly wore this same dress for their 40th and 50th wedding celebrations, and is wearing it today. Following their wedding, Dale was sent to Europe where WWII kept him busy fixing B-26 airplanes for the next 4 & ½ years.
In his absence she continued working, now teaching the 7th and 8th grades in town school at Elmwood. With these earnings, she proudly purchased her very own Model A Ford. The next school year she accepted a position at Eagle school to teach 5th and 6th grades, as she had discovered these were her favorite ages to teach. When Dale returned after WWII, she “retired” from teaching, as that was the proper thing to do at the time. She was always thrilled and proud to run into one of her former students and would strongly state that “the world needs good teachers!”
Eleanor and Dale rented several farmhouses before purchasing their permanent home southwest of Elmwood. They lived and farmed there for the next 30 years before moving into Elmwood in late 1982.
She and Dale celebrated 52 years of marriage, and their love was always evident in their respect and support of each other. They raised 2 children, David and Jane, with unconditional love. Jane relates that she came to appreciate the wonderful parenting they had received when she started to work in Mental Health and realized this type of loving environment was not a universal concept. They were well suited to assume the role of grandparents and were delighted when 2 grandchildren, Sara and Brian, were added to the family. There was always time to make bread and pies, swing on the porch swing, and enjoy Grandma’s Sunday dinners after church. There was also plenty of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and blueberry pie.
Throughout her life, Eleanor was active in the EUB and United Methodist churches as an organist, choir member, women’s circle, and Sunday school teacher. She belonged to Center Club, American Legion Auxiliary #247. She was a Girl Scout and 4-H leader and loved being a tour guide for the Bess Streeter Aldrich Foundation. She and Dale enjoyed traveling, gardening and playing cards with friends.
After Dale’s death in 1994, Eleanor continued to keep herself busy with family, church, and community, helping out where ever she was needed. She also enjoyed piecing quilts, donating dozens of 9 patch quilts to the Lincoln City Mission.
Her faith in God was truly her salvation in difficult times, as well as part of her everyday life. She consistently demonstrated her belief, that “you needed to count your many blessings”. Music was always a constant in her life, through singing, playing the piano and organ. She never missed her favorite; the Lawrence Welk show on Sat night. She shared that she never understood why people did not sing out strongly in church when given the opportunity and would certainly expect all present to do so here today!
Her last 15 years were spent in Lincoln at Legacy Estates, and this became another beloved community. She appreciated the people and staff at “the castle”, as she called it. She rarely missed the activities, especially if music was involved and recently the staff had been singing with her to get her up and going.
As she approached 100 years of age in good health and spirits, her son-in law, Steve, gave her the label of resilient. Eleanor would just say, “I can’t believe I am that old” and was grateful that so many people came to help her celebrate that milestone.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dale Fleischman, son David Fleischman, parents, Christian David and Nora Kunz, and her sisters and their husbands, Gladys and Henry Bornemeier, Lavina and Ed Backemeyer, and Norma and Ronald Geithman.
She is survived by her daughter, Jane Heine and son in law, Steve Heine of Lincoln, her grandchildren, Sara Heine of Lincoln, and Brian Heine of Elmwood, Brother in law and wife, Duane and Valoris Fleischman of Palmyra, Nieces, and Nephews. Along with their families, many cousins and friends.
Her family would like to express their gratitude to everyone who is here to honor her today; and for all the nurses and staff at Legacy Estates and Horizon Hospice, who became her extended family as they talked, cared, sang, danced and laughed with her and Jane. She will be missed!