Eleanor Sarah Huston (nee Schuk) was born in Shipman, Saskatchewan on July 21, 1925, the first daughter and fifth child of Martin Schuk and Sarah Hamm. She died February 16, 2006.
Eleanor’s dad was born Martin Schuh in MosonSzentPeter in Austro-Hungary, which is now part of Janossomorja, Hungary, in 1881. In 1906 Martin sailed on the SS Montrose to Canada, where officials inadvertently changed the spelling of his last hame to Schuk.
Eleanor’s mom was born Sarah Hamm in Morden, Manitoba, in 1897, her family having immigrated to Canada from Russia in 1875 and 1874. Many of the family (Shuks and Hamms) now live in B.C., with many in Williams Lake and the Chilcotin.
Eleanor grew up with six brothers and two sisters, living on the family farm in Saskatchewan for the first 16 years of her life.
They grew up during the depression and more time was spent on work than recreation.
It was on the farm that Eleanor first developed an affection for gardens, flowers, and birds. Her mother always planted gardens and had hedges and flowers, all helping to make their house a home with fond memories. She shared a memory of springtime, when they found birds’ nests, and would routinely check to see if there were eggs or babies.
Social activities were family affairs with dances now and then.
Eleanor recalled a box social one year to make money for a charity, in which she made a guitar box with sandwiches, cookies, and cake, all under the strings.
The Schuk children attended a one-room schoolhouse about three and a half miles from home, and later a school was built about one and a half miles away. When this Celtic School was built, the students could attend for a few months of the year, because the money spent on the school did not allow enough left over to pay a teacher for the full year.
Sometimes the kids were able to ride to school by horse and cutter.
Eleanor remembered one experience with a part of the cutter coming loose and slapping the horse’s hind legs, causing it to bolt and give them quite a ride before her brother was able to slow it down in time for a sharp corner that they were then able to get around.
As an older student, Eleanor enjoyed helping younger students with their reading and other assignments.
Eleanor’s brother, Joe, left home in 1936, with original plans of heading for the Yukon where money could be made, but settled in the West Branch area of the Chilcotin where members of the Hamm family had settled.
Joe Schuk returned home to Shipman for Christmas in 1941 and Eleanor decided to join him on his return to British Columbia in January, 1942. She lived with her brother, Joe, by Bluff Lake.
It was during this time that Eleanor made a trip from Kleena Kleene to Bella Coola with her friend, Agnes Hogarth.
They travelled by horseback, spending a month along the way, creating memories that lasted her lifetime.
Eleanor Schuk worked in the Chilcotin helping at the lodge at Kleena Kleene. She also helped her brother, Joe, then at Tatlayoka. Her pay for one season was a cow that she named Daisy-Mae, which she then sold to her other brother, Ed, for $35.
The rest of the Schuk family, as well as most of the Hamm family, moved to B.C. in 1945, adding to the Chilcotin population. From 1944 to 1946, Eleanor spent three seasons working on the fishing nets at Namu. Her sister, Doris, joined her there, in the third season. It was in 1946 that Eleanor lived on a float for a month in Namu, cooking for a fellow who was gathering clay/sand for beauty masks.
During one of her off-seasons, Eleanor worked in Vancouver at the Cloverleaf and also made shoes at Leckie’s Shoes, living on Richards Street with her friend, Agnes.
After her time at Namu, Eleanor worked at the Top Hat Cafe in Kamloops, and then on to Williams Lake where she worked at Al’s Variety, where Ming’s now stands. From there she then worked at Bob’s Cafe, a little establishment between Al’s Variety and Borkowski’s on Railroad Avenue, now MacKenzie Avenue.
Eleanor waited tables, while her sister Frances cooked. Eleanor then worked at the Famous Cafe, where the Boot Cabaret now stands.
It was while working at the Famous that Eleanor met Doug Huston, through her sister, Doris, and her husband, John Tyrrell.
On July 20, 1957, Doug and Eleanor were married in Quesnel, with Joe Hayes as best man and Eleanor’s sister, Doris, as matron-of-honour.
They settled in Williams Lake and built the house on Glendale Drive before it was paved, before Green Acres Place, and when the Green Acres Trailer Park was a field and trees owned by Jim and Ethel Deutch. It is this house that remains the family home still.
They had four children, Linda Hill, Brenda Huston, Marcia Reid, and Mark Huston. Family has always been important for Doug and Eleanor. They enjoyed seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Eleanor was known for her green thumb with plants and flowers that could be clearly seen in the front window of her home.
One of her favorite flowers were stargazer lilies.
There were always pets around the house. After the kids moved out, cats and dogs were allowed to share the indoors and to share the furniture. Dusty was the only dog that could get along with Kitty and was a faithful companion for Eleanor for 17 years.
Drives in the country around Williams Lake in all directions were a pastime that Eleanor and Doug enjoyed immensely, taking along the kids and pets.
Eleanor’s sense of family and values was clear in her manner and she and Doug made sure that family connections were always maintained through visiting, from day to day, and during vacation times.
In the mid-1970s she was happy to make a couple of trips back to the old homestead in Shipman, reacquainting with old neighbours and seeing the home that she grew up in. The old pump still produced water after all that time.
Eleanor’s keepsakes were many. School art work from Glendale elementary could still be found on walls in the family home, some 40 years after being brought home. She kept all the gifts her children ever bought her, and many other mementos of the various stages of life for all the family. And, there were the knick knacks, often little deer or birds. All of these little treasures have provided her children with hours of delight in looking back through them.
Eleanor is predeceased by her husband, Douglas Gavin Huston, her parents, Martin Schuk and Sarah (Hamm) Schuk, as well as her sister, Frances Lorraine McGregor.
She leaves to mourn, many, including her daughters, Linda (Rockey), Brenda (Glen), and Marcia (Dan); her son, Mark (Pam); grandchildren, Justin (Mely), and Derek (Jenn) Hill, Larry (Nikki) Huston, Tim and Brad Reid, Madelyn and Emma Huston; great-grandchildren, Hailey Lachapple, Nicholas Fournier-Hill, and Rhys Huston; older brothers, John Schuk, Joe (Katie) Schuk, Ed (Helen) Schuk, Tom Schuk; younger brothers, Larry (Gloria) Schuk, Bob (Sandra) Schuk; sister, Doris Tyrrell; sister-in-law, Kaye Schuks, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Eleanor will be remembered for her warm smile and her quiet strength, always supporting her family. Eleanor’s strength helped her to deal with health issues over the last several years of her life, but these were not to be overcome, and she joined her husband the morning of February 16, 2006.