Earline Marie Dupriest Huddle died September 6, 2022 at the age of 92 years and two weeks. She was one “tough old bird” (in her own words) and the world lost an indomitable spirit when she left it. She survived the depression, two broken hips requiring replacements (one during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic), colon cancer, Covid itself – though luckily after vaccination, umpteen hospitalizations for UTIs, an eye biopsy and numerous other hard times. Quality of life was relative to her...if she was alive, she had quality. Earline lived to this age through sheer force of will, and would have lived longer if her daughter had sent her to the hospital one more time instead of letting hospice treat her at home. Said daughter is sure she is still ticked off about that, and grieves that as much as the loss of her mother. Since she had lost her eyesight (and had suspected lymphoma of the eye) and her mobility, her sons disagree that the hospital was the answer.
Earline was born to “teenage parents in the Over The Rhine section of Cincinnati” (as she stated in her autobiography) on August 22, 1930. Her father had recently turned 20 so that was incorrect in the letter of the law but accurate in the spirit. They were both young and new to Cincinnati and as the depression was just beginning, times got very hard. As a youngster below 8, Earline and her mother went hungry so her younger two siblings could eat, because her ne’er-do-well father drank what little money was left. When times got better, Earline came to appreciate food above almost all else (family is all that surpassed it.) Throwing out food was anathema to her, and she passed this philosophy onto her children. Her three children hate throwing out food and some of them have even taken it a bit far. Her recipe for chicken stock starts with 'buy chicken at 29 cents a pound.' She once snapped at an offspring that she could not afford to buy cabbage at 39 cents a pound (when she really could) because to her anything above the lowest price she could find was not affordable.
She was one of The Greatest Generation, and those following them have no idea how stoic and strong and sacrificing that generation is/was. She gave up food for her siblings, and creature comforts later on so that she could live on a tight budget. Duty was her overriding motivator, along with food and family.
She struggled with reading in school and the school put her in a “slow” class which she says saved her. Because she could go at her own speed, she soon mastered it and was back in the normal classes. By High School she was in the top portion of her class, and received a scholarship to the Jewish Hospital School of Nursing in 1948, at graduation from Milford High School in Milford, Ohio. Her family was still poor, though her mother had divorced the ne’er do well and remarried - they still could not have afforded the tuition. After the divorce, the children lived with the father until he started beating them and Earline traipsed her siblings across the street (at age 9) to her mother’s house where she had remarried - her stepfather became her beloved father and grandfather to her children. Her sister reports that they had a very strict bedtime even in high school, so Earline would have to study in the clothes cabinet with a flashlight. The sister, being younger, insisted on accompanying her in the cabinet and Earline would provide a book and a flashlight for the sister.
She is survived by that sister, Barbara Dupriest Rogers of Alabama. Her brother Carroll, of California followed her in death one week later.
She graduated from nursing school in 1951, passed her R.N. Boards in the summer of 51 and began her long nursing career. Her love was surgery and she had many fascinating stories, such as being present at one of the first open heart surgeries in Cincinnati...which happened because a surgical patient's heart stopped during surgery, and the surgeon cut open the chest to get at it and massage it. The patient lived. She practiced nursing until the age of 62 when her back would not allow it any longer.
In her 50s, while still working, she was an avid member of the Central Ohio Hiking club and enjoyed many a hike with kindred spirits. She was very proud of her participation in the original Nurses’ Health Study begun in 1976 by Harvard Medical school which required detailed questionnaires on a yearly basis, and periodic blood and urine samples…even toenail clippings. This was ongoing for 30 years. Earline was very proud of her RN status and participating in a study to help the medical world learn more.
The loves of her life were her three children and their spouses, Kathleen Huddle-Hall (Jim), William (Rhett) Huddle (Jan) and Robert Huddle (Penny). Having experienced divorce from their father Frank Huddle, she reveled in her children's long-standing marriages and children-by-marriage, and told all of them that she could die happy knowing her three children were with good spouses. That was clearly just an expression, because she was never going to die 'happy' – she would always be agin it. She got much enjoyment from watching family photos on her Grandpad, and watching out the windows to see what was happening in the neighborhood. Get togethers with food and family were her very favorite things in life. She wanted more of them.
A nursing scholarship is being established in her name and further details can be obtained from Kathy at huddhall a-t hotmail.com. (The normal @ goes where the a-t is - this is to keep spammers from grabbing a published email address.)