Friday, May 18, 2018

Eleanor Hutchison Whitmire

Eleanor Hutchison Whitmire (87) died on May 17, 2018, after suffering for over 14 years from Alzheimer’s. Funeral services will be held at 1:30 P.M. on Monday, May 21st, at Porter Funeral Home, with Rev. Alex Coblentz and Rev. Chris Vowell officiating. Visitation will be Sunday from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Interment will be in Bethsalem Cemetery in Choctaw County.

Eleanor was born in Weir, MS, on June 24, 1930, to James Glover Hutchison and Sarah Rosalie Black Hutchison. She graduated from Hazlehurst High School in 1948 after attending Weir High School for most of her school years. She attended Mississippi State College for Women for two years before leaving in 1950 to work as a bookkeeper at Wilkinson’s 555 Tire Company in Jackson, MS. She married Claude Donald Whitmire on September 14, 1955, making a home in south Jackson.

Eleanor “retired” from 555 in 1968 to focus on her growing family. She then dedicated her time to the PTA at Key Elementary, Peeples Junior High, and Wingfield High, culminating in being appointed to the Jackson Public School Board in 1982. Eleanor’s passion for public schools was firmly rooted in her belief that all children, no matter their background, deserved a solid education. A devout Presbyterian, Eleanor was extremely active in Central Presbyterian Church’s pastoral care ministry and Women’s Circles until the church’s closure in 1992. She was also known for her extensive flower and plant garden, turning their back yard on Winn Street into an oasis of green. Once the children were older, Eleanor had a second career at MP&L, loving her job as a customer service representative. Retirement followed in 1995, and Donald and Eleanor finally got to build their dream home in Choctaw County on the land Donald grew up on as a child. With her beloved husband, Eleanor enjoyed a rich retirement filled with family and friends until Alzheimer’s cruelly began to rob her of her joy of gardening, gossip, games and grandchildren . . . and finally even her love of chocolate and football, a day we never thought we would see.

Eleanor spent her final years being wonderfully cared for by the nursing staff at the Winston County Medical Center Nursing Home in Louisville, MS, with her ever-faithful husband Donald visiting her daily and feeding her love and lunch . . . and yogurt or applesauce or maybe a little strawberry ice cream for dessert.

She believed in thank-you notes, matching purses and shoes, and a college education. Her goal was to have a different set of china for every day of the week. Colorful comments about others were typically made out of the side of her mouth. Be careful what you say or do, “because it all comes back to you.” Her motto was “you can stand anything for a little while,” and she was known for telling her children that “you WILL go and you WILL have a good time.” She rescheduled holiday dinners around Mississippi State football games. She loved a good game of cards, and her homemade rolls were divine. She was most definitely NOT a morning person, and no one remembers her ever cooking breakfast other than Christmas Day (and that was at 9am). She had a lead foot and was always the parent to whom you confessed speeding tickets. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend who has been greatly missed and always cherished during the long years of her illness.

Eleanor is survived by her husband of 63 years, Donald Whitmire, of the Panhandle Community, Choctaw County, MS; her four children, Don and Peggy Whitmire of Scottsdale, AZ, Rosanne and John Johnson of Brandon, MS, Sara and Kip Zacharias of Houston, TX, and John and Kathleen Whitmire of Huntsville, AL; her nine grandsons – Brian Whitmire of Rio de Janerio, Brazil, Paul Whitmire of New York City, NY, Mark Whitmire of Chester, MD, Wesley and Stephanie Johnson of Gluckstadt, MS, Charles Johnson of Big Sky, MT, James and Memrie Johnson of Brandon, MS, and John Bradley, Todd, and Daniel Whitmire of Huntsville, AL; her great-grandsons, Jacob and Luke Johnson of Gluckstadt, MS; her older brother, Arnell Hutchison of Hazlehurst, MS; and many much-loved nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her siblings Byron Hutchison, Johnny Hutchison, Janie Lee Hollingsworth, Raymond Glover Hutchison, Paul Wayne Hutchison, Jake Hutchison, and Dewitt Arnold Hutchison.

Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, French Camp Academy (One Fine Place, French Camp, MS 39745), and Bethsalem Historical Society (c/o Wayne Hutchison, 116 Price St, McComb, MS 39648.