Obituary for Eileen Schubert
Eileen Kranson Schubert passed away peacefully on May 10, 2017 at Coronado Retirement Village in San Diego with her husband Elliot by her side. Born in 1924 in St. Louis, Eileen met Elliot on a lonely Sunday at the University of Illinois Hillel Foundation in 1943, where she challenged him to a ping pong match and beat him handily 2 games out of 2. Their first date was a year later. Eileen’s mother, who was slated to go along on the date but stayed home due to a migraine, asked her afterwards “what the new boy was like.” Eileen answered, “Intelligent, kind of shy, his name is Elliot something, you know, Beethoven, Mozart, one of those guys.”
Eileen and Elliot married on June 3, 1945, just before Elliot left for a year-long Pacific tour on the Escort Carrier Casablanca, not knowing whether they would ever see each other again. Upon Elliot’s release to inactive duty, they moved to a trailer park at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where Elliot enrolled in the graduate program under the G.I. Bill and Eileen, who had a degree in Psychology, supported them on her $30 a week salary as a stenographer – a phenomenon known at the time as the PhT (Pull Husband Through) program. Ken, their first child was born in 1949 while they were still living in the trailer. Their second child Don was born in 1951 in Peoria, Illinois, where Elliot was working at his first job as a chemist. They moved to Chicago in 1952. Their third child Rick was born later that year and their fourth child Linda was born in 1954.
Eileen was a devoted, fulltime housewife and mother during those years. She was also a Brownies and Girl Scout leader, always known for her adventurous ideas and passion and talent for crafts projects. Anxious to communicate her love of knowledge, she taught a semester of first grade in 1960 but decided not to finish out the year because she felt that her children still needed her at home. In 1962, she began substitute teaching in the Chicago public schools to supplement the family income and ensure that they could afford the finest of college educations for their children. In 1968, she was assigned one day to a class at the Bell School for students with hearing disabilities and ended up staying there until she and Elliot retired to San Diego in 1983. Among the most popular and respected teachers at the school, she learned sign language, took courses in the field, obtained a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and gave her heart and soul to her job, the love of her life after her husband and children.
Moving to California was a dream come true for Eileen, the opportunity to bask in the idyllic sunshine and devote her days to golf and contract bridge, both of which she loved passionately and excelled at, and read vociferously, frequently biographies and historical novels. She was also an excellent swimmer. She developed her carpentry skills (having once built an addition to the family home) to become a superb woodworker, constructing both furniture and highly creative ornamental items that she never tired of showing off to friends and strangers alike. She wrote meditative, often amusing, sometimes acerbic poetry that always captured the reader with its play of words and incisive insights. She mastered Print Artist graphics software on her computer, which she would labor at for hours until she created the perfect card or letterhead.
Eileen had an ebullient and bubbly personality and dry, occasionally caustic, sense of humor. She was always working on a new project, everything from art to planning games for a family get-together. In between her many activities, she found time to bring her love of teaching to bear and tutor English as a Second Language. She was a lifelong dog lover, her spaniel Cindy reflecting and sharing her unique blend of devotion, independence and mischievousness. Eileen’s charisma attracted many friends through the years and she maintained close relationships with roommates from her college days and neighbors from her time as a young mother.
At the age of 86, she began developing memory problems, which later turned out to be Alzheimer’s. She struggled valiantly for seven years, angry that she could no longer do everything that she loved so dearly but never losing her longing for fulfilment and eternal curiosity. In addition to her husband and four children, Eileen will be remembered by the many friends and acquaintances whose lives she touched with her quick, inventive mind, irreverent wit, boundless energy, acute powers of observation, perfectionism and ability to master any skill that she set out to learn. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at graveside at El Camino Memorial Park, 5600 Carroll Canyon Road, San Diego.