Fourteen days from her 90th birthday, Eileen entered heaven’s gates. After a long battle with dementia and her final months in hospice, Eileen is finally free from suffering and pain and is with her heavenly father. Together again, she was instantly reunited with her beloved husband, Eddie, and daughter, Linda. Eileen will be forever loved.
Eileen was born in Paso Robles, the first of her siblings to be born in a hospital. She was raised in Creston and graduated from Paso Robles High School. She graduated from St. Luke’s School of Nursing in San Francisco with her nursing degree. She was married to Edwin Engleman for almost 40 years before he passed away in 1995. They first lived in Atascadero and moved to San Jose around 1959. She enjoyed working in several doctor’s offices including orthopedics and neurosurgery. However, on February 16, 1988, her world took on a new focus when her favorite grandson, Chris, was born. She retired to be able to spend as much time with him as possible. This was a huge help to her daughter and there was nothing that made Eileen happier than being with Chris. She loved her grandson so much. In 2002, she even moved from her much loved home in Willow Glen to Sacramento to be closer to her only grandchild. When Chris first brought his then fiancé, Sterling, to introduce her to his grandma several years ago, they immediately clicked and have had a special bond to the very end. Sterling had a special place in Eileen’s heart and loved her so much as she took the time to sit with her and listen to her stories. Eileen was blessed to attend their beautiful wedding in the Santa Cruz Mountains May 20, 2018 (her last time to be able to travel). Their beautiful daughter, Jade Elliott, was born on April 22, 2019 and every picture of her brought Eileen such pride and joy. You could always count on Eileen to be praying for her family that she loved so much.
While in San Jose, Eileen loved researching genealogy and enjoyed taking classes at the senior center. She met many wonderful life-long friends, especially Martha, attending these classes and loved traveling with her friends. She was proud that her family contributed to the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum. She enjoyed learning the computer and the whole new world of easily accessible genealogy she could now access. In Sacramento, she loved attending the “Women Alone” events at Creekside Christian Church in Elk Grove. Many heartfelt thanks go out to the wonderful ladies in this group who continued to visit Eileen up to the very end. I hope each of you who visited her know what a precious gift this was.
Eileen enjoyed traveling and treasured her annual trips to Yosemite with the Rader’s and got to Lake Tahoe as often as she could. Her travels kept her busy and she enjoyed documenting her trips with photos.
Since 2013 when she broke her hip and could not be home alone, Eileen was in a residential care home, A Caring Hand, in Elk Grove. Special thanks goes out to the staff who took such good care of her during her ups and downs, especially Mike, Carmella, Amy, Juliet, Vicky, Edward, and past staff. Judi always knew she was well cared for at all times and this greatly eased her mind. Thanks also to the staff at Suncrest Hospice who lovingly cared for her during her final five months of life and provided great support for her as well as her daughter. A special thank you to Julie, (RN case manager), who assured Judi that she could help her mom live a better quality of life when things looked very grim.
A heartfelt thanks also goes to her son-in-law, Gene. His constant support and help caring for Eileen and visiting her often was a strong support for Judi. Eileen was so pleased and proud when Gene became an ordained minister. She was always telling people about it. When she had to go into surgery a couple of years ago, she got a little confused when introducing Judi and Gene to the doctor. She told him that Gene was a doctor! Judi quickly jumped in to correct her while the doctor was eyeing his “competition.”
Judi also wants to thank her cousin, Robin, for always being available to offer a listening ear or provide assistance at any time. Robin, your knowledge and experience walking this road with your own mom, helped Judi immeasurably. Eileen’s sister, Lucille, who was four years older than her, passed away on January 5, 2020 and there will be a combined celebration of life (see details below). Special thanks also goes to Jolene, long-time family friend, for your continued visits with Eileen. These visits meant the world to Eileen and family. You are loved Jolene.
Just three days before Eileen passed, a miracle happened which will forever be a treasured memory. She had basically been non-responsive for several days and Chris and Sterling wanted to make sure that 10-month-old Jade met her great grandmother. She had tons of pictures and had face-timed with her, but had not met yet in person. Jade was not a good traveler at this time and she cried the entire trip to Sacramento from Santa Cruz, but they pushed through. We weren’t even sure if Eileen would be aware they were there. But the miracle was that we walked in to her room, and Eileen was sitting up in her bed, both eyes fully open, and she was engaging and talking. She had the best visit meeting Jade and visiting with Chris and Sterling. This lasted about 40 minutes before she started to fade and went back to her unresponsive state. This was truly a gift from God and has meant the world to her family.
Those who passed before her also include Leo and Ellen Erickson (parents); Lucille (sister) and Robert Rader; Chester (brother) and Beverly Erickson; and Karen Erickson Imig (niece). She will be sorely missed by Judi Denney (daughter) and Gene Denney of Sacramento; Chris Denney (grandson) and Sterling Denney, and Jade Denney (great granddaughter) of Capitola; Robin Rader (niece) of San Luis Obispo, Don Rader (nephew) of Paso Robles, Kevin Erickson (nephew) of Paso Robles; and cousins, especially Carolyn and Lorene Anderson (Paso Robles).
One of Eileen’s favorite scriptures was Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)
Graveside services will be held on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 1 p.m. at Paso Robles District Cemetery with a Celebration of Life following. In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to Operation iDream (operationidream.org) who brings education, health, and sustainability to the people of Zambia.