Greene County News
YELLOW SPRINGS — Eleanor Bull will celebrate her 100th birthday on April 1 – no fooling.
The lifelong Greene County resident, now living in the Yellow Springs Friends Health Care Community center said, “I have seen and enjoyed a great deal in my life: wonderful family, warm friendships, and unexpected world events.”
Eleanor Bull was born and grew up on Routzong Road north of Xenia. Her parents were Harvey and Nelly Collins who operated a dairy farm on which she and her three brothers, Fred, Gene, and John.
“Life was very different then,” she said. “Limited electric power from a generator in the basement; no running water; an outhouse; wood stove.”
She attended the Collins School on State Route 235 North.
“The school I attended for eight years was about a mile from home,” she added. “I road Ruby, my little pony, most of the time. But, occasionally she would get loose and go back home on her own. I had to walk then.”
At 13 she drove the family Model T to high school in Xenia – a daunting distance in those days. After graduating from Muskingum College as a music education major in 1938 in the midst of the depression she taught multiple levels of grade school students in the basement coal-boiler room of the South Solon elementary school.
“But once I got married in 1941, I had to quit – married women were not allowed to teach in those days,” said Eleanor.
During and after World War II, she and husband Harold lived in Clifton. Three children came along, David, Susan, and Joyce.
She was a life-long member of the Memorial United Presbyterian Church formerly Second United Presbyterian Church until the building was demolished in the 1974 tornado. At an early age, she joined her parents and two brothers in the choir, and remained a member into her 80s.
An accomplished singer, organist, and pianist, she was a frequent performer at weddings, funerals, cantatas, and weekly services, frequently leading group singing for many events – from Vacation Bible School to the annual Mother and Daughter Banquet. She served as a Deacon and was a member of the church’s Home Builders Luncheon Group, the Morning Friendship Circle, and the church Sewing Group, serving as Presbytery Sewing Chairman for many years. She still enjoys playing hymns on the piano at her residence.
“I liked being a soloist since I got to select the musical key (chord) to my vocal range,” she said.
After WW II, she began a lifelong, active presence in the local Agricultural Cooperative Extension and sheep production programs. She and her family lived on the 200 year old family farm on Stevenson Road, where they raised sheep. Husband Harold worked as produce and dairy supervisor for the Eavey Company/Super-Value -Xenia Division and they both worked on extension and sheep related programs in the evening.
Eleanor was an active supporter of Greene County Extension activities, actively participated as a member of one the Xenia AM Extension Homemaker’s club; served as president of the Extension Homemakers Council; performed as a model in the traveling fashion show, 50 Years of Fashion – celebrating 50 years of Extension Homemakers clubs in Greene County; and for many years, led the Greene County Extension Homemakers Chorus in their annual performance at the Greene County Fair.
She was a Blue Birds Campfire Girls leader, awarded the Ernest Thompson Seton Award in 1971. She was an early volunteer in the Greene County Room of the Greene County Community Library, helping establish the extensive obituary collection used by many genealogy researchers.
She and her husband, Harold, were well known in the sheep and wool production/marketing industry in Ohio during the 1960s and 1970s, Suffolk sheep being their passion. In 1999, she was honored by the Greene County Sheep and Wool Association with their Shepherd’s Friend award for her active longtime support for the organization. She and Harold were also active in one of the neighborhood Ohio Farm Bureau councils.
She taught herself chair caning, and subsequently taught the skill to Greene County residents at adult education classes for many years at Greene Vocational Career Center and Fairborn High School. She traveled to Europe and Central America, and enthusiastically supported her children in their teaching and military career pursuits.
Eleanor will celebrate her 100th birthday on April 1 with family and friends at the Assisted Living Facility in Yellow Springs where she has lived since 2004. Cards are welcomed.
Story courtesy of the Eleanor Bull family.