Eleanor Theresa Weatherwax, 80, of Billings, Montana, formerly of Pompey’s Pillar, passed peacefully on August 17, 2013, in her home surrounded by her family. Born to the late Riley and Amelia Weeks, March 27, 1933 in Magnolia Springs, Alabama, she was the youngest of four children and the apple of her Daddy’s eye.
Eleanor met the handsome sailor James Samuel Weatherwax (Jim) at her cousin’s birthday party. They two were married shortly thereafter in Bay Minett, Alabama, on July 4, 1953 and the fireworks continued for sixty years. Over the following fourteen years Jim and Eleanor moved around quite a bit and in the process had six children. The first was born in Pensacola, Florida and the sixth in Douglas, Wyoming. The family settled in Billings, Montana in 1968. In 1978, Eleanor and Jim built their country dream home in a grove of trees nestled by a spring fed creek in Pompey’s Pillar. In 2011, they moved back to town to be closer to family.
Eleanor took great pride in her strong work ethic and her ability to “work as hard as any man.” Whether working in the gladiola fields as a young girl or side by side with Jim in his many business ventures, she never shied away from a hard day’s works. She worked equally hard at instilling the same “can-do” spirit and resourcefulness in her children.
In her early years Eleanor was a professional seamstress. From fine ladies lingerie to commercial tents and awnings, Eleanor could sew anything…fast. But her favorite things to sew were special occasion dresses for little girls and not so little girls. With her Easter and Christmas dresses and prom and wedding dresses, countless memorable moments in the lives of her daughters and granddaughters were experienced in an E.T. original creation.
Eleanor loved to dance and passed that love on to her children during late night kitchen dance classes. The curriculum included jitterbug, two-step, waltz and the occasional Charleston to name a few. Eleanor took particular pride in the fact that her only son was a very good dancer, unlike his father.
Eleanor was happiest when her house was full of family and friends. Holidays and family birthdays were her favorite but any Sunday afternoon was a good enough reason for a big get-together. Eleanor loved nothing more than feeding people and no one was allowed to leave hungry. Family favorites include her gumbo and fried chicken. Family often extended well beyond blood relatives as Eleanor had the unique ability to make all feel as though they belonged in her fold.
Eleanor is survived by her husband, James “Jim” Weatherwax; her six children Nancy (LaVern) Petersen of Billings, Jeannie (Paul) Jones of Huntley; Jamie (Richard) Horton of Colstrip/Sun City, AZ, Connie (Kelly) Duneman of Billings, Sharon (Ben) Ripley of Billings, and William “Bill” (Liz) Weatherwax of Billings; her six grandchildren Michael Marsac, Murrell Jardine, Megan Ostlund, Ryan McPherson, Madison Duneman and Isabella Weatherwax; her two great-grandchildren Brayden and Bodhi McPherson; her sister Myrtle (James) Small of Billings; her brother Emile (Mona) Weeks of Austin, TX; her nieces and nephews; and her many honorary “children”. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother James.
Many thanks to Ann Wilson for her loving care and compassion and to Rocky Mountain Hospice, especially Robin Ladson, for their unfailing support which made a graceful passing possible.
Vigil services will be 7pm Tuesday and Funeral Mass 11am Wednesday both at St. Bernard’s Parish. Rite of Committal will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens.