Because of the situation in our country at this time, my sister has been denied the privilege of a regular funeral and the attendance of family and friends. In lieu of this, the best I can do is to honor her with a heartfelt eulogy.
Fay Eileen Cogswellwas born on July 23, 1923, in Chilhowee, Missouri, a daughter of Irvin LeRoy and Edna Forrest (Wilson) Shultz. After graduating form Chilhowee High School, she worked in Kansas City at Hallmark Cards and Lake City Arsenal Plant until moving to California. She started as a waitress in Los Angeles, but since she was not discovered to have acting talent, she went to work as an executive secretary for Rockwell International, a position she held for 25 years. She met a guy named Franklin Lee Cogswell and they married on October 20, 1951, but were not blessed with children. In the early 70's, they both retired and moved to Paradise, California, where they bought land and built their home. They enjoyed sea fishing, traveling, dancing, and lots of good friends who also retired and migrated to Paradise. Due to an accident while deep sea fishing, Frank succumbed to lung cancer in 1982. She was also confirmed into the Episcopalian Church that same year.
Continuing on with the lifestyle they both loved, Eileen volunteered with hospice at the Enlow Hospital in Chico, California, for another 25 years. She traveled extensively, through the Panama Canal, kissed the Blarney Stone, helped birth baby sheep in New Zealand, noodled for opals in Austrailia, visited most of the European countryside, and on one occasion, chased a would be purse snatcher down the street in Portugal beating him with her broken purse strap. She did not neglect seeing all of the United States that she could, she explored the techniques of growing rice and cranberries, watched them build a Goodyear blimp, and loved the redwood forests in her home state. She organized and volunteered for charity functions, was a member of the local Ridge Runners Square Dance Club, taught round dancing and did dance exhibitions across northern California. She had a champagne brunch in a hot air balloon over Lake Tahoe and shared numerous bus trips with groups of friends. When we shared a trip to Hawaii in the 80's, there was no sunning on the beach, we explored all of the World War II memorabilia.
In 2016, suffering from the onset of dementia, I brought her back to Missouri and was able to keep her with me until 2018, when her health required more care than I could give. She became a resident of Golden Age Nursing Home in Stover, only seven minutes from my home and I visited her once or twice a week until the mandatory shutdown a few weeks ago due to the virus. Regardless of the dementia, she managed to maintain her unique sense of humor. Who can say there is any good thing about dementia? I can, because when the Camp Fire wiped out Paradise, and she lost the home she built there and many of her friends, she was not able to be hurt by it. She succumbed to her 96 years of life on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, at the Golden Age Living Center in Stover, Missouri.
She is survived by her sister, Wanda White of Cole Camp; two nieces, Debbie Hill and her husband, Mike, of Blue Springs, and Sherrie Dean of Cole Camp; two great-nieces, Kristi Wheeler and her husband, Andrew, and their children, Anthony and Kaitlyn, and Kimmie LeMaster, and her children, Hailey and Brenden, all of Lee’s Summit. All were proud to have known this special woman.
Eileen was preceded in death by her parents, Irvin and Edna Shultz, a sister, Marjorie Thomason, and three brothers, LeRoy Shultz, Irvin Earl Shultz, and Clifford Lee Shultz.
Committal services will be held on Monday, May 11, 2020, at Paradise Cemetery in Paradise, California. Arrangements are under the direction of the Fox Funeral Home, Cole Camp.
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