Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Eleanor Euwer Shimeall

June 18, 1923 – Jan. 27, 2024


Last updated 3/14/2024 at 9:44am

Eleanor Euwer Shimeall

With sorrow for our loss and gratitude for her life, the Shimeall family announces the passing of Eleanor Euwer Shimeall, the beloved and venerable matriarch of our clan. Eleanor died on January 27th, 2023 in her cherished desert home and in the care of her family. She was one hundred years old. We remember Eleanor for her deep wells of warmth, love, and joy, for her shrewd wit, her environmental passion, and for the indomitable spirit her tiny frame contained up to her very last days.

Eleanor Euwer Shimeall was born June 18, 1923 in Goodland, Kansas to Elmer Euwer and Mary Courter Euwer. In eighth grade she met Clark Shimeall, decided he was the one for her, and in a style that would become characteristic, she made it happen– they were married in 1942 shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When she told her father that they wanted to be married, he said that at 19 she was too young and should finish college. A headstrong young woman, she told him they would simply cross the state line and get married in Colorado- where she could marry as young as 18 without parental consent. Her father wisely relented and they were married in the family living room, a union that lasted 75 years.

While Clark served overseas, Eleanor went back to college, majoring in Foods and Nutrition before postponing her studies for motherhood. A lifelong proponent of education and a part-time teacher, she would return to school to graduate in 1973 from University of the Pacific in Stockton. When Clark returned in 1945, he signed on with Ohio Oil Company (later called Marathon Oil) as a petroleum geologist. This work took their young family across the West through New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nebraska, Wyoming, and eventually to Marathon headquarters in Findlay, Ohio. During this time, they had a daughter and three sons; a fourth son was born while they were stationed in Guatemala from 1958 to 1963.

After moving back to Findlay in 1963, Clark eventually left Marathon to become a professor at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. During these years Eleanor used her leadership skills to head up the local chapters of League of Women Voters and Planned Parenthood, and eventually became involved in Solar box cookers, using a simple oven made by Clark. She eventually authored a Solar cookbook which is still being used by new Solar cooks all over the country.

In 1988, after years coming to the desert for hiking and camping, Eleanor and Clark moved permanently to Borrego Springs (CA), where they enjoyed working as volunteers for the Anza Borrego State Park, and where Eleanor served as president of the Borrego Water District Board for over ten years. In 1996 they built the first permitted straw bale house in San Diego County, making room for visits from all of her kids, six grandchildren and nine great-grands.

Eleanor carried on with her interests after Clark's death in 2018, making hand-made cards with a local group each week and playing bridge at the Senior Center during the six months of winter in Borrego. After suffering a stroke in 2022, she was greatly diminished from being her usual vibrant self- but still loved having family and friends visit. Every morning when she ate breakfast on the patio, she was heard to say, "Another beautiful day in Borrego!" We will carry on in her generous spirit, and are grateful that she walked this Earth and served as such a progressive role model for all of us.

Memorial donations in her honor may be given to the Anza Borrego Foundation, Solar Cookers International in Sacramento, CA, or your favorite charity. All are invited to the Celebration of her Life, to be held March 30 beginning at 2 p.m. in the Conference Room at Palm Canyon Hotel and Resort.

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