Rena Ellis

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rena Ellis, 99, of Cape Girardeau died Tuesday, May 29, 2012, at Ratliff Care Center.

She was born March 25, 1913, to Bert Raymond and Lula Jane Newby Ellis.

Rena was preceded in death by all her siblings. Most recent was Ruth Dempster of Fresno, Calif., who died May 4, 2012. Her other siblings were Sybil Firkovich (Doc), Margaret Hubbard (Chester), Claude Ellis (Dolly) and Ray Ellis.

She is survived by many nieces and nephews, plus great-nieces and great-nephews and a great-great-great-niece.

She attended First Methodist Church many years which she was very active and a member of Climbers Sunday school class, who always stayed in touch with her through cards on special occasions.

Rena was a teacher many years, teaching in the St. Louis area and later retiring from Bloomington Elementary School in Bloomington, Ill. She then moved back to Dexter, where she continued to work for her sister and husband with Dexter News Agency.

She volunteered at several places, receiving the Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year Award in 1992. She also did private home health with several clients. When ill health set in, she moved to Central Gardens for about four and a half years. Later needing a skilled home, she moved to Ratliff Care Center where she was known as the little lady in the caps she loved to wear. Always friendly and though partially blind, she wheeled daily throughout the center.

Through her last several years, a niece, Becky Almond and husband Mike, helped oversee her and help keep her life alive by talking about her past accomplishments, relatives and her love for people. She was given a special 99th birthday party and when the group sang "Happy Birthday" she patted the table with the beat of the song and then raised her hands and clapped with a big smile of appreciation.

Rena was buried in Essex Cemetery in Essex, Mo., Thursday, with private family graveside rites.

Rainey-Mathis Funeral Home in Dexter was in charge of arrangements.