WENONA - Helen B. Ellis, 95, formerly of Wenona, died at 12 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 15, 2005) at St Joseph's Hospital in Chicago. Mrs. Ellis had been a resident of St Paul's House assisted living facility in Chicago since March 2000.
Her funeral service will be at 2 p.m. today in the Hurst Funeral Home in Wenona with her nephew, Rev. Larry Thomson, officiating. Cremation will follow services. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. today until time of service in the funeral home.
She was born in Jacksonville, on July 20, 1910 to Judge William E. and Mary Elizabeth Willard Thomson.
Mrs. Ellis married Harry M. Ellis in Buffalo, NY on Oct. 11, 1940, where they lived prior to moving to Wenona in 1949 when they bought the Wenona Hardware Store. She often helped out in the store and took pride in decorating the windows according to the season, even putting in live rabbits one Easter season.
She was an active member of St John's United Methodist Church and its women's group UMW and Wenona Literary Club. She also organized the St. Jude Bike-a-thon for several years. She was a volunteer at St. Mary's Hospital adult day care program and was an avid gardener and loved fishing with her husband.
In 1932 she received her undergraduate degree from McMurray College in Jacksonville, and accepted her first job teaching Home Economics and P.E. at Manlius High School. In 1934 she transferred to Long Point High School teaching Home Economics and Typing before resigning to marry Milton Edlefson from Manlius on June 6, 1936. On Dec. 15, 1936 he developed pneumonia and died just three months before Sulfa Drugs were released to the public.
She then moved to New York to attend Columbia University's Teacher College to get her master's degree. She then began teaching at Kenmore High School in Kenmore, NY and then at Woodland Community High School in Streator from 1958 until retiring in 1974.
Mrs. Ellis is survived by three daughters, Nancy (Larry) Heintzman of Heidleberg, Germany, Joan (Al) Fisher of Lombard, and Mary Lou (David) Mauch of Tomah, Wisc.; one brother, Ralph (Delores) Thomson, of Jacksonville; two sisters, Hazel Sampen of Normal and Ruth (Richard) Bridge of North Andover, Mass.; nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Harry in 1993; two brothers; and one grandson, Brian Bastion in 2004.