Eleanor Frances Rummell Precoda
Eleanor Frances Rummell Precoda passed away at her home in Valle Verde retirement community on March 2, 2023. Born in Douglas, Wyoming on April 8, 1925, Eleanor was a resident of Santa Barbara for 65 years, where she and her husband Norman raised their family.
As a young girl, Eleanor dreamed of becoming a concert pianist, and later recalled her Aunt Frances taking her, at age 10, to see Rachmaninoff perform in Columbia, Missouri. Eleanor would graduate from Michigan State University in 1947 and from UC Berkeley in 1949 with a master’s degree in Spanish language and literature, earning her California Teaching Certificate in 1950. She taught Spanish at Monterey Peninsula College to returning soldiers on the G.I. Bill, and often remarked that these were the most motivated students she ever had. She also taught at Mt. Diablo High School, San Marcos High School, and Adult Education at Santa Barbara City College. While at Berkeley, she met Norman, and they married in 1952. She spoke Spanish as a second language until her passing.
In the 1970s, Eleanor exchanged piano for viola, and studied for years with Ann Tischer, a long-time member of the Santa Barbara Symphony. She performed with the SBCC Symphony, the SBCC Chorus, the Santa Barbara Choral Society, and the West Coast Symphony. After retiring from performing, she donated her prized viola to the Music Department at UCSB, where it has since appeared in numerous recitals. For many years, Eleanor was a season subscriber to the Symphony, and found many ways to support the arts, enjoying live theatre and concerts at the Music Academy of the West, where she delighted in discovering new generations of virtuosi.
Devoted throughout her life to the ideal of accessible education for all, Eleanor supported scholarships to Santa Barbara City College’s nursing program and volunteered for many years with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, where she helped convert many volumes – many of them specialized textbooks — into recorded media for audio consumption.
Eleanor was predeceased by her husband Norman and her sister Marilyn Smith, and is survived by her sister Elizabeth Staley of Honolulu, Hawaii, her daughter Kristin and her partner David Huron of Benicia, California, and her son Karl and grandson Oliver, of Blacksburg, Virginia. The family is grateful to the staff at Valle Verde, where Eleanor spent 20 happy years. At her request, there will be no service. Memorial gifts may be directed to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County and to the SBCC Foundation for nursing scholarships.