Elenor Pinchbeck

December 28, 2021
In loving memory ~
The Lake City lost another of its Pioneers over this past Christmas season. Alice Elenor Pinchbeck (Elenor) passed away in the care of hard-working nurses and compassionate doctors at the Cariboo Memorial Hospital in the early hours of December 28th, 2021.
Elenor moved to the Cariboo as a young girl from Vancouver, BC to the Big Lake Ranch where her veteran father, Reg Hyde, tried his hand at ranching, unsuccessfully, before moving to the Mission, where he was a woodworking teacher. She walked from the mission out to the highway each morning to catch the bus into town, until she finally moved into the dorms, which were then located where the school district offices are now.
Elenor met her first love, Frank Purjue in high school, in Williams Lake, when she was in grade 10, and they fell in love and were soon married, starting their married life living at the Purjue homestead.(now Desmond property at the top of Pinchbeck hill) Frank and his logging partner Bobby Blatchford worked for Jerry Pinchbeck, who owned a family-run sawmill on the adjoining property. Frank and Bobby used a team of horses and logged Forest tenures for Pinchbeck sawmills until Frank decided to move Elenor, 9 months pregnant at the time, out West at the age of 17 to begin their young married life at the Elkins Creek Ranch at Xeni Gwet’in (Nemiah Valley) where Frank’s family Elmer & Marie Purjue, along with Elmer’s twin brother Oliver, ran a hunting and guide outfit. They were able to drive as far as Chilco ranch, then they took a team of horses and buggy the rest of the way, where it was a two-day trip, camping along the way.
Her mother-in-law, Marie Purjue (nee Eugenie adopted by the Quilt family) showed Elenor how to skin and tan hides and to sew moccasins and gloves using the hides. The altitude was too high to grow a good garden, so they would make the trip to Williams Lake for a year’s supply of groceries, which they would purchase on credit. Even at her age of 84 Elenor could still recall the shopping list of 300 lbs of potatoes, 100 lbs. of sugar, 200 lbs. of flour, 90 lbs. of rice, cases of Kraft Dinner as well as cases of spaghetti. They used to make butter and purchase extra while in town and put the butter down in the well for refrigeration. Bean soup was a staple and she learned to bottle preserves over a fire in half of a 40-gallon drum. When asked what it was like being a city girl and moving to the untouched West, if she thought life was hard, she simply stated, ” I was 17 years old, married, and didn’t have an opinion to judge whether life was hard or not.” Elenor had her first daughter Chauni (named after Chaunigan Lake) followed every 2 years by Linda, Shelli, Reg, then Peggi.
It was on November 8th, 1967 when Frank drowned trying to swim to shore for help along with his other guide Billy Sammy Williams. The two guides were crossing Chaunigan Lake with four Oregon hunters, when the boat capsized and altered the course of Elenor’s life. At the time of the death, Frank’s previous employer and friend, Jerry Pinchbeck had hauled a load of wood to the ranch and was taking his good friend John Tuerlings hunting with Frank, but when Jerry found out what had happened to Frank, he headed back to town to pay his respects to Elenor and offer his support. He told Elenor that she would not have to worry, that he would make sure that Frank’s kids were provided for. Several months later, Jerry began his courtship with Elenor, and one year plus one day after Frank’s passing, Jerry Pinchbeck married Elenor and they had two more children, Judy, and Billy. Elenor always appreciated the giving, kind-hearted man that Jerry was to love Frank’s children as his own, and a marriage of convenience, quickly grew into a marriage of love. She was again widowed a second time at the young age of 46, when Jerry passed away after a short battle with Leukemia. This time she was left with four adult children and three still at home. She was a most encouraging mother who was so proud of her children, and grandchildren and enjoyed many happy years surrounded by family.
She went on her big adventure to Australia after her daughter Judy had moved there, she travelled with her sister-in-law, Joan Hyde, and toured the state of Victoria and New South Wales seeing the Sydney Opera House and “Twelve Apostles,” but her most favorite part of her adventure was visiting a family member’s sheep station during shearing season and observing the whole production.
Elenor was an avid volunteer with the “Association for the Mentally Handicapped,” and after Jerry’s passing, she became the president of the Association. She later retired and tried her hand at carpentry building paint sticks for the Summit workshop. Elenor lived a full life independently on the property where she and Jerry built their home, and was only in the hospital for a few days before her passing. She left quickly and swiftly with some tender moments with her family and peacefully passed away in her sleep.
Elenor was predeceased by her first husband Frank Purjue, husband Jerry Pinchbeck, daughter Shelli (Sinclair), son in law Barry Funk, and her brothers Joe Hyde and Kenneth Hyde, parents Reginald & Alice Hyde. She is survived by her adoring children, Chauni (Randy) McDonald, Linda Funk, Reg (Karen) Purjue, Peggi (Gabe) Pukacz, Judy (Lloyd) Ventry, Bill (Bridgitte) Pinchbeck, son-in-law Theron (Karen) Sinclair, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held in the Spring to honor her life with her friends and family. Obituary


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