Norma Eileen Love, known as The Teddy Bear Lady, passed peacefully into the arms of her heavenly Father on Thursday, April 27, 2017, at Primrose Memory Care Center.
Eileen was born July 4, 1923, in Merlin, Ontario, Canada, to George Henry and Alta Edith (Sheets) Sales. Her mother passed away when she was very young, so she was raised by her grandparents, until she could come to Anderson at a later age to join her father and stepmother.
She graduated from Anderson High School in 1942, and on Oct. 31, 1942, she married the love of her life, Ward N. Love. She earned her American citizenship in 1944.
Eileen was a devoted farmer's wife helping however she could. She loved gardening, working in her flowers and keeping the farm grounds beautiful for others to see, sometimes using bears in her later years.
She retired, after 27 years, as a payroll clerk from The Indiana Reformatory of Pendleton. During her employment, she received a plaque from Governor Robert Orr as a Distinguished Hoosier and a plague from Governor Otis Bowen as commendation for 21 years of service at Indiana Reformatory. She always said she had done her time, and could finally get out and walk away.
Besides her time with family and her love for gardening, flowers, and reading, she enjoyed volunteering. These included St. John's Health System, RSVP Love Bears, Bethany Pointe and Paramount Theatre. She also belonged to Pendleton Garden Clubs, Order of Eastern Star, where she was a Past Matron. She had also been given the honor of being Grand Representative to Australia for Indiana OES and was able to travel there with a group for this memorable trip of a lifetime.
She started a hobby of collecting bears which became her life and something to share with others. She gave programs titled, Love, Therapy and Hugs of Teddy Bears. The programs were given at nursing homes, schools, churches, or any group that needed or wanted her. She not only shared her Teddy Bears, with stories and history about them, but she was always ready to share her love, with many of her bears being given away.
She was health and welfare person for Bethel United Methodist Church for 25 years. Normally flowers were given whenever the need arose, but she asked if this could be changed to the use of bears. The change was made and it was a hit.
Eileen had her own special way about her, but she could also be spunky. She loved her family and other people and loved life to the very end.
During their 51.5 years of marriage, she and Ward raised their two children, the late, Jim Love (Carolyn) of Seattle, Wash., and Tonya (Gary) Lucas of Anderson. They also raised several other children, Tamara (Don) Everett of Fairmount, the late Calvin (Jean) Bennett of Anderson, the late John Bennett, the late Bob Davis, Eddie Ellis and Willie Lawson. Grandchildren include Jennifer, Rebecca, Troy, Trina, Tara, India, Carrie, Brent, Jeff, Steve, Donna, Tricia; and numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
A sincere thank you to Primrose Memory Care for all the love and care, not only for Eileen, but also her family.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Loose Funeral Homes and Crematory with an Order of Eastern Star service at 6 p.m.
Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home with the Rev. Bill Garver officiating. Burial will take place in Anderson Memorial Park Cemetery.
Memorial Contributions may be made to Bethel United Methodist Church, Primrose Memory Care or charity of choice.
Published on April 28, 2017