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Herald and News 10/12/08

Eleanor Bolesta

Eleanor Bolesta passed away peacefully in her residence on her farm in Tulelake, Calif., on Oct 7, 2008, after a long struggle with Parkinsonís disease. She was 85. A memorial Mass will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Tulelake, on Monday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. The ceremony will be followed by potluck at the Parish Hall behind the church.
   Eleanor was born on April 7, 1923, on Whidbey Island, Wash., to Lyle B. Muzzall and Edna (Zimmerman) Muzzall. She attended Oak Harbor High School and Everett Community College. She enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June of 1943 for the duration of World War II, and received an honorable discharge as an aviation machinistís mate 3c in July 1945.
   Eleanor had married Charles Bolesta, a U.S. Marine, in Oak Harbor, Wash., prior to his deployment to the Pacific Theater. After the war, while Chuck was recovering from severe wounds received on Guam, they moved to California. In 1946, Eleanor and Charles heard about the upcoming lottery for homesteads available to veterans in the Tulelake area of Northern California and she subsequently applied for the drawing, having qualified by her previous farming background on Whidbey Island. She became the first woman in the history of the Bureau of Reclamation to be awarded a homestead, and claimed her 112 acres in March 1947.
   The Bolestas built their new home a nd ra ised five children on the family farm. As were all the homesteaders of the time, they were largely self sufficient, and the children learned many values that are not so evident in our current culture.
   Eleanor decided to complete her college education and went back to complete her bachelorís degree at Washington State University at Pullman. She then moved to Davis, Calif., where she completed her masterís program at UCD in 1970. Her oldest daughter, Peggy, subsequently complained that her mother finished college before she did! (They were in school together at the time).
   Eleanor then moved to Compton, Calif., teaching at the Community College, but soon was offered a position at Anchorage Community College in Alaska. She worked as the Learning Resource Center Director from 1974 to 1983, and one of her special projects was recording living history from the Native American senior population.
   Upon her retirement, Eleanor moved back to the family homestead in Tulelake. She began restoring her home, and began a new career as a world traveler. She started by booking a berth on a tramp steamer. She traveled with the Elder Hostel program to many European countries and even took her bicycle for a ride across France. She normally stayed in a university setting and took many classes about the history, art and culture of the regions she visited. She especially loved the Mediterranean.
   Her many articles and pictures of her travels were printed in the Senior Spectrum section of the Herald and News.
   She became a strong advocate of the farmerís position in the Klamath Basin Water Crisis, and in 2001 was quoted in several national publications. She was a real team player during those difficult times in the community.
   Eleanor was dedicated to the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Tulelake. She was an active member of the Altar Society, and was instrumental in the restoration of the Parish Hall.
   She enjoyed reading, working out in her garden, and visiting with her friends and children.
   Eleanor was a generous, loving and inspirational person to those who knew her. Her philosophy can be summed up in a quote from S. Silbert: ďTo do what is to be done before it is too late is to live Ö fully.Ē
   She is survived by her children and their spouses, Peggy Bolesta Upton and Bruce Upton, their daughter Sara, of Reno, Nev.; Joe and Pam Bolesta, of Loveland, Colo., their children, Jenelle and Shelley; Mary Bolesta deMalvinsky and Jean deMalvinsky of Santa Cruz, Calif., their children, Nikolai and Sophia; Laura Bolesta Thomas and Michael Thomas of Loveland, Colo., their daughter Katrina; Murray and Agnes Bolesta of Green Valley, Ariz., and their daughter Zoe. Her sister, Laura Vanderbeek, still lives on Whidbey Island, Wash., with her niece, Susan. Other nieces and nephews sur viving are Lynita Muzzall, Dav id Vanderbeek, Mike, Maura, Robbie and Ron Muzzall. She has numerous grand nieces and nephews. She will be missed by her many friends and helpers.
   In lieu of flowers, Eleanor requested that donat ions be made t o t he Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsonís Research, P.O. Box 780, New York, NY, 10008, or to the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Tulelake.
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