Obituary for Lorena Eaker (Shell)
Lorena May Shell Eaker, 90, of Church Hill, Tennessee, joined her husband in the arms of their Savior, Jesus Christ, on September 16, 2017, at the Wexford House in Kingsport, Tennessee.
She was born on May 31, 1927, in Hahn, Missouri, daughter of Vernon E. and Hallie Fisher Shell. She and the late Odis Cleo Eaker were married June 27, 1942. He died June 3, 1990.
Lorena was a member of Greenvale Baptist Church of Church Hill and the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.). She had a career as a bookkeeper working in various states.
She was a dedicated wife and loving mother.
With the birth of their daughter Cheryl in 1947, she and Odis realized they didn’t know enough family history when filling out the family Bible. This led them to a life-long study in the genealogy of Bollinger County and its early settlers from North Carolina.
As residents of Bollinger County, they soon realized they had a shared ancestry through Casper Shell, one of the first settlers in Bollinger County from North Carolina in 1804, and Christian and John Peter Eaker, who arrived in 1817.
Years of study culminated in their first publication in 1976, The Shoe Cobbler’s Kin, A Genealogy of the Peter (Ecker) Eaker, Sr. Family (1701-1976) and included over 42,000 names. In 1985 their continued research resulted in further detail in The Shoe Cobbler’s Kin, Volume II, which included more than 49,000 names.
After her husband died, Lorena published German Speaking People West of the Catawba River in North Carolina (1750-1800) in 1994 including some 25,000 names. This publication traced the migrational history of more than 600 immigrants from Europe to North Carolina to the early settlement of Southeast Missouri and Bollinger County culminating after 46 years of research.
With a thirst to make the connections in the genealogy, Lorena went on to take 55 years of study resulting in the publication in 2002 of One Wise Man: A Genealogy of Frederick Wise of Lincoln County, NC, and His Descendants which included more than 60,000 names. Those descendants can be found in Bollinger County also.
As caregiver for her husband 11 years before his death, Lorena knew about the ravages of dementia and the effects on the caregiver. In 1996, she published One Step at a Time: A Definitive Study of Alzheimer’s Disease and a Practical Guide for Caregivers. It was written as a simple guide for busy caregivers who did not have time for complicated reading but needed to understand that someone else knew what they were going through with their loved one. She gave this book away to many Alzheimer’s groups and nursing homes over the years.
Over the years, Lorena was a featured speaker at meetings of genealogical societies, county archives, and libraries. She presented information from her research and answered questions about any genealogy study. She spent hours in one-on-one meetings with individuals who wanted her help while researching their own family histories. She also spoke at meetings of Alzheimer’s support groups sharing her own journey as a caregiver and lending insight to those who felt they had nowhere to turn.
Realizing her research time was limited, she started scanning her files putting as much as she could on CDs organizing by family names. Then in 2013 she gave all her files to the Lincoln County, North Carolina, Genealogical Society to be used for generations to come by others seeking answers about their own ancestry. She said, “I have more books in all of it, but I don’t have time to write them all.”
Survivors include her daughter Cheryl (Cliff) Stanley of Mt. Carmel, Tennessee; brother Rick (Donna) Shell of Marble Hill; three grandchildren: Martin (Elana) Stanley of Tennessee, Trena (Jack) Hall of Utah, Melanie Stanley of Ohio; three great-grandchildren: Sean Hall, Brianna Stanley, and Caleb Stanley.
She was preceded in death by her husband and an infant, her parents, brothers Dale Shell and an infant brother, an infant sister, and an infant grandson.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until noon on Friday, September 22, 2017, at Liley Funeral Home in Marble Hill, MO. The funeral service will begin at noon with Rev. Gerald Huff officiating. Burial will follow the service at Bollinger County Memorial Cemetery.
Memorials in her honor are suggested to the following: the National Alzheimer’s Association; the Lincoln County, North Carolina, Genealogical Society; and the Bollinger County Public Library.