Elinor D. Borders was born in Tarnov, Nebraska and began a life in Omaha after high school. Her rural upbringing sparked a keen interest in gardening as an adult. “She was a real gardener and had a harvest like none-other,” Elinor’s niece, Deb Miller, recalled.
Elinor also was a talented seamstress and worked past the age of 90, altering tuxedos for a local business. “She loved sewing,” Miller said.
As a child, Miller remembers her Aunt Elinor would always keep her imagination fueled when she came to visit. She has fond memories of playing with her wooden sewing spools. When Elinor worked in real estate, she used to love the tablets made of scraps of paper and pencils she received.
Those who knew Elinor during her 106 years of life will never forget her caring and giving spirit. “She always wanted to hear about how you and your family were doing, and she always wanted to share something with you before you left her house. Even if it was just a couple of tomatoes,” Miller said.
Her ability to find humor in life’s day-to-day challenges leaves a lasting smile. Elinor was an independent woman “before it was cool,” according to Miller. She will never forget the story about when she had trouble getting a new table to fit in her vehicle.
“They had a saw with them for some reason, and she sawed off the leg of the table to be able to shut the trunk. When they got home, they put metal braces on it and nailed it back together,” Miller said. “I have a pottery business, and I still glaze on that table. She gave it to me when she moved out of her home and said, ‘This is for you.’ She knew I loved that story and loved the table just the way it is.”
Elinor enjoyed playing cards and was always up for a game of pinochle under one condition. “She would always check to see which way the bathtub was before a card game,” Miller said with a smile. “It was an old wives’ tale that you would have better luck during the card game if you sat across from your partner the same direction the bathtub went.”
Elinor’s life was well-lived, well-laughed and she saw a lot of history unfold. She also made countless memories that live on through the stories.
Her death from COVID-19 was heartbreaking for family members. They did not have an opportunity to be by her side when she died or say goodbye due to safety restrictions.
“106 is a long time to live, and she had a full life, but it still wasn’t easy. For something to take her, you would not have wanted that to be what it was,” Miller said.
Her large circle of family and friends, who lined up to see Elinor on her 100th birthday, will not soon forget Elinor and miss laughing alongside her.
She is survived by her sister, Lillian Chochon; sister-in-law, Joan Chochon; three grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; great-nieces and nephews; and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her son, Robert; parents, Joseph and Victoria Chochon; two brothers, Cliff (Rose Marie) and Alvin; sisters, Florence Schomaker (Arthur), Alvina Shumacher (Harold), Regina Andel (Ralph), Viola Cahill (John) and Mildred Martens (Edward).