Girded by a faith-and-family-filled life, punctuated by effortless elegance and a perpetually sunny disposition, Eleanor Marie Dye, 94, of Lenexa, made her journey to Heaven Oct. 21, 2017.
She was born Sept. 13, 1923, to Cecil and Faith (Hull) Allison in Sioux City, Iowa, and grew up in and around Kechi, Kansas, just north of Wichita. When in grade school, she lived on a farm and rode a pony-pulled cart to Rock Island School with her brother and three cousins.
Later, while a student at Valley Center High School, Eleanor worked part time in her dad’s Kechi grocery store, just down the street from the Methodist Church her family attended. She not only learned to pump gas there, but also how to “candle” the eggs her dad bought from farmers, as well as some butchering skills.
With regular customers, Eleanor sometimes had the “privilege” of flipping a coin with them as they tried to win a bottle of pop from the store’s cooler. She loved that, and she loved the story-telling atmosphere that grew out of that small-town grocery where so many friends gathered. Entertaining came easily for her, and she was still telling stories the day before she passed away.
Eleanor probably would laugh and say her best year at college began when her dad gave her a spiffy, red convertible, and she was chairman of Rush Week for her Kappa Delta sorority—both at the same time. She earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Kansas State University in 1945, just days before she married the love of her life, Col. (Ret.) Carl J. (C.J.) Dye, who at that time was a First Lieutenant returning from World War II.
They were married 65 years before C.J. passed away in 2010. They were active members of Baptist churches in St. Charles, Missouri, where they raised their family; Leawood, Kansas; and Bella Vista, Arkansas, where they retired in 1977.
Eleanor taught home economics at both St. Charles High School (St. Charles, Missouri) and Shawnee Mission South High School (Overland Park, Kansas) in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Her favorite class to teach was sewing. An excellent, detail-oriented seamstress, she made many of her family’s own fashionable clothes when her children were young. In retirement, she transitioned to quilting, a hobby she happily shared with her daughter-in-law, Kathie.
C.J. and Eleanor traveled widely, to the 48 contiguous states with their children, and later, in retirement, to Australia, China, South Korea, England and many other countries. As retirees, they also had the opportunity to cheer on their grandchildren in their many activities, including Kyle’s cross country; Jeff’s hockey; and Kevin’s wheelchair basketball.
Eleanor was an inspiration and an example to others in the way she lived. She was a compassionate, thoughtful listener, and loved to share her Christian faith. And just last week, she reminded her daughter that she loved being a mother.
Eleanor is survived by her loving children, Sue (Rick) Babson and Robert (Kathie) Dye; grandchildren, Kyle Babson and Jeffrey Dye; three nieces and three nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Col. (Ret.) Carl (C.J.) Dye; brother, Duane Allison; and grandson, Kevin Babson.
A Celebration of Life service will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at Silvercrest at Deer Creek Senior Living, Marvin Room, 13060 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park.
Memorial contributions may be made to benefit an annual weeklong summer camp in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, devoted to children living with Spina Bifida, as Eleanor’s grandson Kevin did: Camps for Kids - MITIOG, 5960 Dearborn, Suite 225, Mission, KS 66202 or http://www.campmitiog.org/donate. Please double ensure your donation gets to the right camp by writing “Camp MITIOG” in the comment line of your check.
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