Eleanor "Ahno" C. Gosse
July 11, 1919 – July 27, 2018
Eleanor (Ahno) Castell Gosse, age 99, passed away on Friday, July 27, 2018, at Banner Baywood Hospital in Mesa, Arizona.
Services will be held Friday, August 3, 2018, at
Lakeshore Mortuary, 1815 South Dobson Road, Mesa, Arizona.
Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Funeral services will begin at 11:00 a.m.
There will be a reception after the services.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Eleanor's name to one of the following non-profit organizations or to your favorite charity:
The Hospice of the Valley, Arizona Palliative Home Care: (602) 530-6992, https://www.hov.org/donate/
The American Heart Association: 1-800-AHA-USA1, https://donatenow.heart.org/
If you have any questions or need assistance, please call Lakeshore Mortuary at (480) 838-5639.
- Carol Anne Deike, Daughter
- Kenneth Lee Gosse, Son
- Eleanor leaves behind eight grandchildren: Lee Reeder, 51, Timothy Reeder, (died in infancy), Dawn Deike, 38, Denise Deike, 35, Andrew Dunleavy, 37, Jeremy Gosse, 34, Katherine Gosse, 28, Christina Gosse, 28. Five great grandchildren: Caitlin Dunleavy, 17, Declan Dunleavy, 15, Alaura Dunleavy, 6, Emelia Boland, 15 months and Eleanor Gosse, 4.
- Visitation Friday, August 3, 2018
- Funeral Service Friday, August 3, 2018
- Reception Friday, August 3, 2018
Eleanor "Ahno" C. Gosse
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August 15, 2018
Today we celebrate the life of a wonderful, extraordinary woman. You may know her as Eleanor, Gramma, or maybe Mrs. G, but we, my brothers and sisters and cousins all know her as Ahno. I’m sure many of us didn’t know her actual name until years later.
During our early years our families spent so much time together, Ahno was like a second mom. We spent summer vacations camping in Wisconsin, we were together for family birthdays, picnics, parties or our annual Family Christmas Eve celebration. The folks were always playing pinochle at each other’s homes. We all remember the many hours playing in their yard in Elmhurst, climbing the cherry and apple trees and playing in the “barn”.
I remember Ahno and mom going “bumming” which was their weekly shopping trip, where at the end of the day they would either come home with the best bargains out there and showed off their best buys, or nothing at all. But that didn’t stop them from going out “bumming” next week.
Ahno was an awesome seamstress. She made my wedding dress, both my sisters dresses and her daughter in law Barbs dress, plus dresses for the brides maids. She sewed the canvas tent covering for the popup travel trailer Uncle Fred made and she was always there to lend a helping hand when we had a project, like reupholstering a sofa or chair.
Ahno was a strong woman. When Uncle Fred became ill, she became his primary care giver for many years. She never let it get her down.
It was always a joy visiting with Ahno. Her mind was so sharp, she was up on current events, could discuss the latest book she was reading, or how upset she was when her internet was down. I’m amazed that at 99 she was using her computer, doing her banking on line, sending emails, and looking things up on the internet.
My sisters and I loved taking her to casinos where we would spend the day playing share on the slots and having lunch. We didn’t win often—but we always had a great time with her.
Ahno was a great cook, and always wan
August 6, 2018
August 4, 2018
She was my "big" sister (even if I was taller) and so much smarter than me, especially with figures. I think she began singing at the age of three, with her sisters Elizabeth and Lillian. I loved accompanying her, and when I hear the aria from "Carmen" that she sang, I always think of her. All of us girls took piano lessons from Pearl (Mrs. Hugo) Mueller, and Ahno and I still had fun on my last visit playing piano duets that we learned as kids. I'll never forget when she and Lillian and Melvin and I were in an auto accident, and how she took charge, calming our sister Lil and stopping a car on the highway to get us a ride to the hospital. When they moved to Elmhurst, just a few blocks from us, I loved it when Fred (who was working nights) would take us all, Ahno with their kids Carol and Ken, and me with our kids Scott, Jim and Paul , on daytime excursions , and the fun we had. For neither Eleanor nor I had learned to drive at that time! But one of my favorite memories is of December, 1947, when we both became mothers: Carol on December 12 and Scott on December 15. and we were allowed to share a room at the hospital. Of course we were singers. Of course it was close to Christmas. And of course we sang Christmas carols together...to the amusement but pleasure of the nurses! I loved my "big" sister. And I'll miss her.
FROM THE FAMILY
Eleanor Castell Gosse was born July 11th, 1919, in Chicago, Illinois, to Karl Anton Castell and Elsie Berggren Castell. Karl migrated from Sweden as a teenager and Elsie was born to Swedish parents in the U.S. Their family lived in Chicago from 1919-1924, the Los Angeles area from 1925-1929, including a brief period in Beverly Hills, then returned to Chicago. Elsie died suddenly in 1940 and Karl died unexpectedly during surgery in 1955.
For most of her life, Eleanor was known by the family as Ahno. In the ’40s, her young nephew Bill Schwahn found that saying Eleanor was just beyond his reach. Few nicknames have lasted as long or radiated as much love.
Eleanor had two older sisters, Elizabeth Ryley, who died in childbirth in 1940, and Lillian Schwahn, who died in 2008 at age 91. Her younger sister Leone Anderson, age 95, lives in Illinois, and their baby brother Mel Castell, age 90, lives in Delaware. They have always been a very close-knit family.
As a child, Eleanor was not in school sports but was very agile and loved the backyard playground their father built. All the children learned to play piano from her father, who sang in Swedish men’s choruses, and Eleanor, Leone, and Melvin developed a life-long love for singing. Eleanor was a very bright student. She attended four high schools in three and one-half years and graduated from Austin High School in Chicago in January, 1936.
Eleanor was very adept with figures and got a job as an accountant with Brunswick. She used to tell people that she crocheted billiard table pockets—until someone believed her. Afterwards, she was too embarrassed to tell that tale. In her twenties, she was the first person Brunswick sent to learn how to operate the new electronic calculators.
Eleanor lived at home with her parents and siblings until her marriage in 1944. She met her life-long love and husband Fred by writing a letter to a random GI in a military hospital. He was in the Fort Riley, Kansas, hospital for a year and was near death for over a week. However, she stopped writing after Fred stopped replying. Fortunately, Fred’s family lived nearby in the suburb of Maywood and Eleanor’s sister Lillian and husband Wilbur had met him previously through family friends. Fred’s sister Emma said he had received all of Eleanor’s letters but had not been able to reply. Fred and Eleanor resumed their connection, but he had enlisted in the Army six months before Pearl Harbor was attacked so his enlistment was extended indefinitely.
They married on July 16, 1944, while Fred was home on furlough. When he visited Eleanor, a minister was at the Castell home to baptize Lillian and Wilbur’s baby, so he presided over their sudden, but anticipated, marriage. As wedding gifts, they received gas coupons and determined they could travel to southern Wisconsin and still have enough coupons to return home (obviously, those were Eleanor’s calculations). After a four-day honeymoon, they were separated from each other for four months due to Fred’s deployment.
Theirs was truly a marriage made in Heaven. Like her sisters’ and brother’s marriages, all were devoted, affectionate, and loving couples for many, many years. Fred was just one day older than Eleanor, and used to say that birthdays were the happiest days of his life—the only day of the year he could go to bed with a younger woman. His wonderful humor often sustained us. It still does, and will always be with us. Fred passed away on June 8, 2005, at age 85, following a ten-year decline in health. They had been married a few weeks short of 61 years.
Eleanor and Fred had two children, Carol Anne (Gosse) Deike, age 71, and Kenneth Lee Gosse, age 66, both living in Mesa, AZ. The next generation included eight grandchildren: Carol’s children Lee Reeder, 51, Timothy Reeder, who died at ten months, Dawn Deike, 38, and Denise Boland, 35. Ken’s children Andrew Dunleavy, 37, Jeremy Gosse, 34, and twins Katherine Gosse and Christina Gosse, 28. After Fred passed away, five great grandchildren joined the family: Andrew’s daughter Alaura Dunleavy, 6, and his stepchildren Caitlin Dunleavy, 17, and Declan Dunleavy, 15; Denise’s daughter Emelia Boland, 15 months; and Jeremy’s daughter Eleanor (Nora) Gosse, 4, and his stepchildren Abigail Bason, 13, and Max Bason, 10.
After the war, Fred declined an offer for a double-promotion to the highest rank of sergeant. He returned to his previous job with West Towns Bus Company where his father, older brothers, and brother-in-law worked. They moved to nearby Oak Park, Illinois, where their first child, Carol, was born in 1947 and their son, Ken, was born in 1952. In late 1954, they moved to the beautiful western suburb of Elmhurst where both children were raised and eventually married. In 1983, Fred and Eleanor followed the migration of many of their relatives to Arizona and settled in Mesa.
In her youth and early days of marriage, Eleanor pursued her love of singing. She performed in Die Fledermaus and other musical productions with the Chicago Park District and sang in church choirs. While pregnant with Ken, she auditioned and was offered a position with the St. Louis Opera Company but declined since they wanted to remain settled in the Chicago area near family. Throughout the ’60s, she sang in the choir of the St Paul Episcopal Church in Riverside, Illinois. She and her sister Leone and friend Pat Rasmussen were in a trio for many years, singing operetta and show tunes for local community clubs and organizations.
When her children were young, Eleanor and Fred were active in the school PTA. Eleanor was a troop leader for Carol’s Blue Birds troop and Fred was the chief of Ken’s Indian Guides tribe. Eleanor also taught Sunday school at Epiphany Evangelical Lutheran Church. She and Fred attended every concert and gymnastics meet that Carol and Ken were in throughout junior and high school.
Eleanor developed a close friendship with a coffee klatch of about ten ladies who knew one another through church, their children’s schools, or as neighbors. Most stayed in touch throughout their lives. Eleanor’s closest friend, Miriam, still in Elmhurst, called Eleanor every weekend so they could catch up on news. Miriam also visited their other surviving friend, Bertha, now over 100, weekly and kept Eleanor up-to-date on how Bertha was doing. (It was only after many years of friendship that Eleanor and Bertha discovered they had graduated from Austin High School together in January ’36.)
In her youth, Eleanor bowled on their Brunswick office team. Later, she and Fred were in a bowling league. They also square danced for many years. At family parties and community events, the floor often cleared to watch them polka. They danced like silk on ice.
Eleanor was an expert seamstress. She often upholstered well-worn chairs and sofas. She also made clothes for herself, for Fred, and their children, including their square dance outfits, wedding dresses for at least three nieces and her daughter-in-law Barbara, and the bridesmaid’s dresses and men’s suits for Ken and Barbara’s wedding. Her largest single project was designing and triple-stitching forty yards of canvas for the top of their home-made camp trailer. She taught Carol to sew, and Carol is an avid seamstress to this day.
Among Eleanor’s favorite events were their annual summer camping trips. These began when the children were tots and continued until Ken was out of college. In fact, Ken learned to crawl while they were camping in the Ozarks. They often joined Lillian’s family and the family of Fred’s younger brother Norman for these trips. They camped throughout the Midwest and had two trips to the east coast to visit Mel’s family in Philadelphia. After moving to Arizona, Fred and Eleanor went on two cruises with Lillian and Wilbur: Alaska and the Caribbean. Their favorite trips, however, were two visits to Ken and his family in Germany in the ’80s when Ken was stationed at U.S. military installations with the American Red Cross.
Eleanor’s mind was sharp throughout her life. She loved to read and to solve crossword puzzles—the harder, the better. Even after her right eye became mostly useless from macular degeneration, she continued to read. In her 90s, she used a Nook e-reader and cranked up the font to a legible size. She usually finished two books per month until her final week.
Eleanor C. Gosse passed away on July 27, 2018, at Banner Baywood Hospital in Mesa, Arizona, due to long-term heart disease which she realized was terminal. She was on oxygen at home for her last seven months but was able to get around her house, care for herself, do household tasks, cook, and, most importantly, bake cookies until her final week. In her last year, she was in the hospital three times to regulate her heart rate and blood pressure. She received excellent care from Arizona Palliative Home Care in her last two months. (They are a branch of Hospice of the Valley, who helped Eleanor and Ken care for Fred during his final three days fifteen years earlier). Two weeks after her 99th birthday, she felt poorly. At her request, we took her to the emergency room in the evening. She became unresponsive on the second day, and surrounded by children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and Carol’s pastor, she passed on peacefully.
She is survived by her children Carol Deike and Ken Gosse and Ken’s wife Barbara Gosse; grandchildren Lee Reeder, Dawn Deike, Denise Boland, Andrew Dunleavy, Jeremy Gosse, Katherine Gosse, and Christina Gosse; great grandchildren Caitlin Dunleavy, Declan Dunleavy, Alaura Dunleavy, Emelia Boland, Nora Gosse, Abigail Bason, and Max Bason; and siblings Leone Anderson and Melvin Castell.
Visitation, the funeral service, and a reception are scheduled at Lakeshore Mortuary, Mesa, AZ, on Friday, August 3rd, 2018, starting at 10:00 a.m. Eleanor will be cremated then rest next to Fred at Green Acres Mortuary and Cemetery in Scottsdale, AZ.