Eleanor Shaw Edsall
September 30, 1921, – June 29, 2020
Margaret Eleanor Shaw Edsall, born September 30, 1921, in Arcata, passed away in McKinleyville on June 29, 2020.
She is survived by her children, Suzanne Bohleen, Wilsall, Montana; Christine Byrd (Dan), Red Bluff; Michael Edsall (Stephanie), Beverly, Mass.; five grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Clarence (“Snooks”); brother, Clifford Shaw; and son-in-law, Calvin Bohleen.
Known throughout her life as Eleanor, she was born in 1921 to Lewis Melvin (“Jack”) and Zella Shaw, both descendants of proud pioneer families (the Preston-Lindsays, Grahams and Shaws). Until her death, Eleanor was the owner of Mountain View Ranch, purchased in 1916 by her father (known at that time as the “Pleasant Mountain View Resort”). Encompassing at that time over 1,300 acres of Douglas fir forest, grassy meadows and rolling hills, bordered on one side by the Mad River, the Shaw family raised cattle, sheep, chickens and turkeys.
Despite growing up during the Depression, Eleanor had fond childhood memories. When she and her brother were old enough to start school, they rode horseback, first riding double, then later their own horses, four miles down the road to the Lone Star school on the Johnson Ranch. By Eleanor’s estimate, she rode 10,000 miles down dusty and muddy roads during her years in grade school.
In order to attend high school, Eleanor lived with her aunt and uncle, Mabel and Glen Graham, in Ferndale. She attended Ferndale High School, participating in sports and attending all the games. Eleanor loved picnicking along the coast, as well as the chance to head home every two weeks for a quiet weekend on the ranch.
After she graduated from Ferndale High School in 1938, she headed to Humboldt State University, where she met her husband, football quarterback Clarence “Snooks” Edsall. After he enlisted in the Army and Eleanor graduated college and began teaching, the two married in 1943. In 1944, Clarence was wounded and sent to a military hospital in Auburn. Eleanor, who had been teaching PE in Fresno, began teaching in Auburn to be closer to her husband. Eleanor later taught elementary school at Hillsborough while Clarence earned his master’s degree at Stanford University. They then moved to Sonoma, where Clarence began his job at Sonoma Valley High School as football coach and PE teacher.
The Edsalls settled into their life in Sonoma, raising their three children. Eleanor was a Camp Fire leader for many years, as well as a volunteer in the community and local Episcopal Church. While the Edsall children were growing up, the family spent every summer at Mountain View Ranch in Kneeland with Eleanor’s parents. Eleanor had wonderful memories of saddling up a little bay mare and taking her kids down to the river almost every day.
In 1976, the Edsalls moved from Sonoma to Mountain View Ranch. They maintained ranch operations, running cattle and welcoming their own grandchildren during the summer to create wonderful memories. The Edsalls joined the Humboldt County Cattlemen’s Association, greatly enjoying meeting other local ranchers and attending activities, as well as attending Center Arts programs at Humboldt State University – and, of course, Humboldt State football games. They also began attending the National Finals Rodeo yearly, following it from Oklahoma City to Las Vegas.
In 2011, Clarence Edsall passed away, leaving Eleanor as owner and operator of Mountain View Ranch, which celebrated its 100th year of ownership by the same family in 2016. She spent the last eight years of her life living it up at Timber Ridge, enjoying cocktail hour, field trips and great discussions with old and new friends. In 2020, Eleanor passed away in McKinleyville, surrounded by loved ones and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name to Hospice of Humboldt, 3327 Timber Fall Court, Eureka, CA 95503. There will be a graveside service for family at a later date.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Eleanor Edsall’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.