By Guest Blogger, Becky (DeBoard) Perry
Eleanor Jane Snyder Payne Basell is a mouthful, I am glad I just call her Nanny. She was born March 1, 1916 to Jay Biddle Snyder (Brother of Ora O. Snyder) and Hazel Augusta Snyder. She will be 100 on her next birthday. She was also the younger sister of Ruth. Eleanor always looked up to Ruth, saying she was so pretty and smart. She loved her dad Jay, who spent time with the girls and was always a wonderful caring guy. He was also very kind. I found this out when I asked Eleanor about the great depression, she said it didn’t really affect her life except that they made meals for the hobo’s, who chopped wood for food, and the banker killed himself. I also found out that she went to the speak easy in Centerburg before prohibition ended. Anyone interested it was in the basement of the pharmacy on Main Street. Eleanor went to Centerburg High School graduating in 1934.
There are not a lot of stories about Nanny’s first 30 years because they were before she was saved. However I do know a few. She went to Georgia for her first year of university and her parents brought her home due to her being a bit wild. She has also mentioned the drinking there. She then went to The Ohio State University graduating in 1938. She was on campus with Jesse Owen, and saw him but never met him, although her friend was lucky enough to do so. She was in the Delta Omicron, honorary music sorority, and shared a 6 girl dorm room with her best friend from childhood Chestora.
Eleanor married Gerald Payne, who she has called the love of her life, August 30, 1941. It was a small wedding held in the back yard. They moved to Columbus, where she would teach and he worked at a beverage company. Eleanor actually shared with my history students what it was like to hear about the attack on Pearl Harbor. She said that she has been to hear Handel’s Messiah at a local church with Chestora and her husband Joe Peters. They came home and rolled back the carpets to have some dancing in the living room, and when they turned on the radio for some music, it was all about the attack and going to war. She didn’t feel the war affected her much, but that her husband did go register. He didn’t go because he had a busted ear drum and flat feet.
She had two children, Terry born in 1943 and Susan born in 1945. She worked has a teacher, both full time and substitute thoughout her time in Columbus. Her life changed when she got saved in the early 1950’s. She was living in Columbus and Brother Mariano and his wife were important to her life. She still keeps in touch with Eva Stigliano from this church. She had a boarding house and a place where youth from the churches could stay. She had been separated from her husband for a bit, but they were back together when she also helped start the Williams road church. This was where her daughter Susan married Arthur Dale in 1963. She and Gerald also built a house close by where they lived, while Judy and Terry would live when they were first married. I remember going to church with them. Granddad and I got in trouble for giggling. He did magic that explained the Bible for the kids, while she preached services. She was a real prayer warrior.
Her life dramatically changed again when in 1970 when Gerald fell and died from injuries he received. After his death Eleanor moved to Centerburg to be closer to her parents. She taught in Hebron for many years. She would take me with her during my spring break and let me help in her classroom. I loved it. She always had lovely Christmas dinners and gave great presents. We didn’t visit a lot since she lived so far away but she really came and helped when Mom got sick.
Her life took another large turn when she married a Lebanese Evangelist Andrew Basell in 1978. She felt it was part of her ministry and that they would build the kingdom of heaven together. They based their ministry in Skelp PA and travelled around to different churches. He was a hell fire and brimstone full gospel preacher, according to him. At the Rock church in New York, Eleanor made a really good friend Elaine who she had visit her for years. Eleanor and Andrew were not together long since he died in 1983 of cancer, not long after they had moved to Marysville, Ohio.
At this point Eleanor moved to Mt Vernon and along with Susan decided to open the Gospel Supply Shop in Mt Vernon, Ohio. It was in the upstairs of the sewing shop first, they later had their own store front on Main Street, which is still there today. Eleanor worked at running this even after Susan moved to Penn. She really liked to help people and knew the material very well.
Eleanor became a great grandmother the first time in 1987. She has five grand kids, 10 great grand kids, and 2 great great grandkids. Both of her children have passed; Susan in 1989 and Terry in 2012. When Susan passed Eleanor sold the book store, but that had the benefit of freeing up her time to allow for travel. She took a trip to visit the Holy Land and made friends that would become more like family. She lived in a little yellow house on Chestnut Street, and attended Covenant Christian Church. She kept active volunteering at the nursing home and with church ministry. She also had a paper route delivering mid-week adds in rural locations. She had lived with her son Terry, since the early 1990’s when his mental health issues became very challenging. In 2009 when he was institutionalised she moved in with me. She was 94 at this time. She was really starting to mellow at this point and I have heard some great stories. When I married an Englishman, a move she totally supported, and moved to England she moved in with her dear friends, Rebecca and Ivan Miller. She was there for about a year and a half, the first year was really very good. She began to lose her memory and need more care, so it was agreed that she would go into the Laurels. She is currently living there. She doesn’t remember many things about her day, but still can remember many of the things from her past. She always knows me, but is not always sure which generation I am. She is still the same gentle sweet lady, who reads the word every day and spends time in prayer. She is a pretty amazing woman who is a real inspiration. She enjoys getting cards and hearing from family.
Her address is: Eleanor S Basell
THE LAURELS OF MT VERNON
13 Avalon Drive
Mt Vernon, Ohio 43050