COLUMBIA — Eleanor Erickson Dude had a hard time staying away from the classroom. A teacher for nearly 40 years, she had a passion for reading and wanted to share that with her students.
Longtime friend Sharen Garrett recalls Mrs. Dude's lasting effects among her students.
"She taught them not just to read but the love of reading," Garrett said. "She touched a lot of lives right here in Columbia."
Mrs. Dude died Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, at Lenoir Woods Retirement Community. She was 92.
She was born on Oct. 5, 1920, in Kankakee, Ill., to Ernest and Edna Erickson.
Her interest in teaching started early, and she earned a bachelor of science degree in education from Illinois State Teachers College (now Eastern Illinois University) in 1942.
She married Clarence Jones of Oneida, Ill. in 1943. He was a pilot in the Army and died in a plane crash in Huodon, France, in 1945 after the end of World War II. They had a daughter, Eleanor Carol Jones.
Mrs. Dude married Albert Carl Dude on March 6, 1948.
Her passion for teaching led to a career spanning four decades in various schools around the Midwest. She taught in Decatur, Ill., then moved to Manteno, Ill., for one year in 1956. She taught fourth grade in Peotone, Ill., also for one year before moving to Columbia with her family in 1958.
Even while raising a family with her husband, Mrs. Dude championed higher learning and wanted to continue her education. She earned a master's degree in education from MU in 1965. She began teaching reading at West Junior High School in 1963 and remained there until she retired 20 years later.
She was a member of the Missouri State Teachers Association and the International Reading Association.
Mrs. Dude's mentorship extended beyond the classroom. A member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an honor society for women educators, Mrs. Dude wanted others to experience how enriching education could be.
"It's because of Eleanor that I was asked to be a part of Delta Kappa Gamma, and it was an honor for me," Garrett said. "She's a great mentor."
Not only was Mrs. Dude a teacher, but she also wanted to learn about others.
"She always wanted to learn new things," Garrett said. "She was just an incredible human being who loved life and loved everybody."
She spent her retirement with her husband in Mesa, Ariz., and lived at Leisure World, a retirement community, for 17 years. The couple returned to Columbia in 2002 and lived at Lenoir Retirement Community.
Mary Garver taught with Mrs. Dude at West Junior High School. When Mrs. Dude came back to Columbia, Garver said reacquainting as old friends came naturally.
At Lenoir, Mrs. Dude took up an avid interest in playing bridge, and she made no secret as to how serious she was about it.
"You do not go to Eleanor's on Tuesday because that was bridge day," Garver said.
In addition to a new game and friends within the community at Lenoir, Mrs. Dude maintained her love of literature. Garver remembers Mrs. Dude as a source of inspiration, both in and out of the classroom.
"She was still an avid reader, and I found it amazing that when I would go over to see her, she would be reading a new book that she wanted to share with me," Garver said. "The fact that she was still reading and wanting to read into her 90s — I just aspire to be like her."
Mrs. Dude is survived by her husband, Carl, 97; three daughters, Carol Stryhal and her husband, Joseph, of Dallas, Kim Dude-Lammy and her husband, Mark Lammy, of Columbia, and Carla Jones and her husband, Patrick, of Hampton Cove, Ala.; a son, Kelly Dude, and his wife, Cindy, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; five grandsons, Charles Weyand of Reisterstown, Md., Drew Lammy of Columbus, Miss., Andrew and Eric Dude of Colorado Springs and Justin Jones of Hampton Cove, Ala.; three granddaughters, Elizabeth Story and her husband, Zachary, of Plano, Texas, Nicole Jones of Hampton Cove, Ala., Kelsey Lammy of Columbia; and five great-grandhildren, Elijah and Logan Story of Plano, Texas, Jones and Paxton Weyand of Reisterstown, Md., and Caroline Lammy of Columbus, Miss.
A brother, Ernest C. Erickson; her first husband, Clarence Jones; and great-grandson, Zachary Story, died earlier.
Visitation will be at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Lenoir Woods Retirement Center Community Center, 3710 S. Lenoir St. Services will be held at 11 a.m. and burial will follow at Columbia Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made to the American Heart Association or MS Society, in care of Bach-Yager Funeral Chapel, 1610 N. Garth Ave., Columbia, MO 65202.
Condolences can be posted at bachyager.com.