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Eleanor "Pudd" Handorf


Eleanor "Pudd" Gilchrist Handorf, 90, died on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, at the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha of a sudden illness. Per her request, there will be no public funeral, but a party will be held in her honor at her home at a later date.
Survivors include her children, Anne (Kevin) King of Cedar Rapids, Jeanne Anderson (Mike) Gunn of West Des Moines and Hollis (Eric) Briese of San Anselmo, Calif.; and seven grandchildren, Whitney (Brian) Hanson of Chicago, Jordan King of Cedar Rapids, Bret Anderson of Ames, Cramer Anderson of Seattle, Wash., Devon (Zach) Lees of Surprise, Ariz., Meredith Briese of San Anselmo and Conor Briese of San Anselmo.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Wilmer; and sister and brother-in-law, Marylin and Dr. Evan Smith.
Born April 30, 1928, in Des Moines she was the oldest daughter of Fred and Mary Gilchrist of Laurens. Following graduation from Laurens High School, she attended Rockford College for Women in Rockford, Ill., before transferring to Iowa State University in Ames to complete a B.S. degree in textiles. Known to many as "Pudd," a derivation of the term "puddywinks" coined by her father, the name followed her after pledging Delta Delta Delta sorority because five women were named Eleanor. She taught home economics in Linn Grove in 1950 before marrying Wilmer Handorf in 1951, making their home on the family farm in rural Marshall County.
Following the loss of her husband in 1980, she was named executive director of the Marshall County Red Cross, a role she held for 12 years, retiring to focus on her creative passion, designing and building her own home in 1992. She was the consummate hostess, frequently entertaining friends as well as hosting many of the groups in which she was an active member. Retail therapy was another love of her life, often shopping for and with friends. There wasn't a store or mall she didn't know about!
A resident of Marshalltown for nearly 70 years, she remained active in the community up until her death and was a member of the Assistance League, 50-plus year member of Chapter BB PEO, Starpha, AAUW Book Club, Theta Chi sorority, Garden Club, Birthday Club, Early American Glass Club, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Elmwood Country Club and served on the board of the Binford House, which included the creation of a new cookbook and multiple bridge groups.
Memorials may be directed to the Marshall County Conservation Board, the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy, the Marshalltown Public Library or a charity of your choosing.
A special thank you to Dr. Sam Wood and the Hall-Perrine team of professionals, the nursing teams and techs on floors four, seven and nine at Mercy Medical Center, and the loving care of the nurses, techs and volunteers at the Hospice House of Mercy. Your hospitality, kindness and love was deeply appreciated.
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