Connecting our family across space & through time

A service of Ameliour Innovation

Outline

  • Welcome
  • Children & Families
  • Life Events
  • Remembrances
  • Little Things
  • Alan’s Testimony


Presented at the funeral

  • 2011 February 18
  • Evergreen Chapel (Mormon)
  • Spokane Valley, WA, USA

Memorial Author 

  • Michael
  • Don & Debbie’s Home

Date

  • Fri, 17 Mar 2023February 2011
  • Edited: January 2023
Author

Elodie Ada Gibb: Simplistically Intelligent

Community

Education

  • Magrath Public School, Diploma
  • Big Bend Community College, AA

Career

  • Military wife
  • Housewife
  • Licensed Practical Nurse

Memorials

Links

Family

Life

Born

  • 1922 April 8
  • Magrath, Alberta, CA

Lived

  • Alberta & British Columbia
  • Washington & Utah

Died

  • 2011 February 11
  • Greenacres, WA, USA

Father

  • William Henry Gibb
  • 1872-1952
  • Alberta, Canada

Mother

  • Mable Adelaide Price
  • 1885-1946
  • Alberta, Canada

5 siblings

Spouse

Victor Richard Ehlert

  • 1941-1978
  • Married, Cardston, Alb
  • Divorced, Spokane, WA
  • 6 sons, 2 daughters

Activities:

Devout Mormon, dedicated mother, conscientious nurse, studious youth from Canada’s rural farm lands.  She was raised in a small house that used a wood stove for heating and cooking.  She told of standing around the stove at night then running into the dark bedroom and jumping into bed before the cold removed all warmth.  Learned to drive a car and earned an LPN degree in her forties while maintaining a farmer’s household.  Lived in Alberta, British Columbia, Washington, and Utah.

Photo Credit

Michael

Welcome

Thank you for joining us as we celebrate and remember the life of our mother.  My siblings asked me, as Elodie's youngest child, to give the eulogy.  I think they just wanted to give the little brother another task no one else really wanted and watch him cry one more time.


The death of a mother.  It is the natural order of things.  But natural orders do not lessen the loss.  The fact that Grandma Ellie, as she liked being called, lived eight weeks shy of 89 years makes it less regretful; but it will not make us, her eight children, less lonely.  For many of us it was through her and about her that we communicated.  For some of us, she was the only reason we communicate.   She kept this ragtag group phasing into common universes occasionally, even though it has been since soon after my birth nearly 50 years ago that all eight siblings were in the same building.  Since then, there has been an Ehlert diaspora.  Today, for the first time since probably November 1961, we are all in the same room again this time to honour the woman who birthed us.

Children & Families

In order of birth, we are:

  • Rich, known familiarly as Warren, flew from Las Vegas, Nevada, and is joined by his wife, Kathy, and family members.
  • Keith, drove solo from Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He named his only daughter after his mother.
  • Dennis, flew in from New Jersey, and is joined by his daughter, Keri.
  • Vicki, drove from San Francisco, California, and is joined by her husband, Ron, and family members.
  • Elizabeth, known familiarly as Liz, drove from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and is joined by her husband, Larry, and family members.
  • Alan, flew from the Netherlandsas in Holland, Europe, not the nether regionsthen drove up from Spanish Fork, Utah, and is joined by his wife, Sara, and family members.
  • Donald, known familiarly as Donnie, drove all the way from Greenacres, and he is joined by his wife, Debbie, and family members.  The family gives our sincere appreciation for them opening their home to us and caring for mom for the last ten plus years.
  • I am the baby of this group; I left 85 degree weather [from a tropical island] and am joined by all four of my children and significant others.


Despite some personal misgivings, we have travelled from afar to join together to commemorate the life of Elodie Ada Gibb Ehlert.  Our mother believed that her salvation was to come through her children.  It is this belief of hers that kept any semblance of family.  For although we have our differences as siblings, individually we each can be without doubt of our mother's love.  And given the hell we put her through, surely the god she loved and praised all the days of her life has granted her rest in the his arms today.

Life Events

Elodie Ada Gibb was born on April 8, 1922, in the rural farming community of Magrath, Alberta, Canada.  She was the second child, first daughter, born to William & Mabel Gibb.  Her mother's folks came from Newport, Wales while her father's parents had immigrated to Utah and then up to Canada.  Mom and her four siblings, were all born during the 1920s.  Her father was a farmer and harness maker.  He served as a soldier in World War I, and survived the mustard gas-filled trenches.  Her mother was a homemaker when the term meant a woman made most everything in the home.  Mom spoke oftenand glowinglyof her parents and siblings, though we rarely saw them.


Life then is foreign to most us today.  She lived in a small house that used a wood stove for heating and cooking.  She told of playing in the trees, of making paper decorations for the walls, of standing around the wood stove at night then running into the dark bedroom and jumping into bed before the cold air removed the warmth.  One night, she forgot that they had cleaned and re-arranged the room that day.  She remembered the day's work as she was in mid air, just before she landed on the floor with a thud.  The family ran in the room to see what happened, and they all laughed when they saw she was unhurt.  Mom laughed whenever she told the story; but she always added that she weighed much less then.  Candy bars were 5 cents, and she went to movies for 10 cents, but she didn't know the price of gasoline because she never drove a car until she was nearly 40.  She did remember, however, that the first family car was a 1937 Ford and cost about $300.


Mom remembered herself as a shy wall flower who loved to read and excelled in her studies.  She sang in the choir and enjoyed singing around the house.  She didn't have any boyfriends to speak of.  Although we learned that she once went on a drive to the river with a girlfriend, her boyfriend, and 'a boy from Raymond,' the neighbouring town.  She had to sneak into the house when she got home because they got home late.  Perhaps it was this experience that taught her to put the milk can in front of the door to signal when her own children got home late.


As a young boy, I asked mom once about her mother and why I never met her.  Mom reported that her mother died when she was young.  Her mother was feeling ill and was resting in bed.  The doctor had visited earlier and mom was helping with her care.  Her mother asked for a drink of water.  When mom returned her mother was coughing up blood and watched die.


Soon after high school mother married Victor Richard Ehlert in May 1941.  They lived in  Magrath, Alberta, in a home he built.  They were a farm family, but suspended while her husband fought for Canada in WWII.  The oldest four children were born during and soon after the war.  After a decade in Canada, when Vicki was about six-months old, mom moved to the States and settled on the Columbia Basin of central Washington state, land made farmable by the Grand Coulee Dam completed some twenty year earlier.  She had her four younger children while living around Moses Lake.


Mom was the homemaker while dad and the older boys hired out and worked a couple different farms.  Mom did everything as the homemaker.  She cooked most food from scratch.  The aroma of fresh bread filled the home two or three times per week.  She sewed the girls' dresses and made most their clothes.  The  boys hand-milked the cows and moved the irrigation in the mornings before school and again after sports practice in the evenings.  She skimmed the cream off the milk, made butter, yogurt, and ice cream.  She planted a garden, bottled fruits and vegetables, and hand washed and line dried the clothes for ten of us.


In the early 1960s they bought a farm on the outskirts of Warden, Washington, a small community of some 1300 persons 17 miles from Moses Lake.  The farm was 250 acres but we were the poor ones who lived in an old army Quonset hut.  She often played games with us.  She once let the kids slide across the floor after some water spilled on the linoleum.  She love to sing and listen to musicEngelbert Humperdink, Nat King Cole, and always let us listen to whatever music we wanted, even ‘Rock-n-Roll.’  She read Harlequin Romances as well as her scriptures and made sure we were at church every Sunday even when it took special prodding.


Mom always wanted her children to be popular because she felt so unpopular as a child and into adulthood.  In spite of the poor setting in Warden, it was here where she got her wish.  The older boys were well known for their athleticism.  Keith was a promising wrestler and overcame a serious a neck injury that required surgery in Salt Lake City.  Dennis was the star running back on the football team, played on the basketball team, and pitched for the baseball team.  Vicki won 3rd place in a National Car Rodeo and was a town's beauty pageant princess.  The next year, Liz became the Queen of Warden keeping mom’s daughters town royalty for two-year running.  Also, for two years running, the Ehlert girls were voted as having the “Best Bods” in their high school; and this was late 1960s/early 1970s when miniskirts and go-go boots were the rage.  Mom took us to all the games, the pageants, the parades.  She made the Royalties' dresses and put up their hair.  She got all of us out of bed every morning, even on the cold ones when the wind blew through the house as if there were no walls.


Her children's popularity brought challenges too, including quick trips to the hospital for car accidents and fights, late night calls from the police to get one or two out of jail, and a mid-year move to hide what was then thought to be a family shame; but that “shame” became one of mom's blessings.  The beautiful and beloved Suzi will speak for the grandchildren shortly.


During this time, she sent Rich on a Mormon mission to Scotland (at a time when missions were 3 years long and you still had to do time in the military afterwards; nevertheless, we do appreciate your service too, Brett), earned her associates degree in nursing, and began working part time as a licensed practical nurse.


In the 1970s, our parents sold the farm and moved to Spokane and the older siblings married and moved all over the country.  Mom began work at Spokane Valley General Hospital, assured that Liz finished her college degree from BYU (Brigham Young University), and sent Alan on his Mormon mission to Colorado after he graduated from Central Valley High School.  Don and I graduated from CV in the late 1970s.  In the midst of my high school years, mom and dad divorced after 36 years of marriage.  It devastated her, and I believe she never fully recovered from it.


During the 1980s, she supported Don as he studied auto mechanics at the community college and put me on a mission to Texas.  Mom remained in Spokane Valley through most the 1980s and early 1990s.


In the mid 1990s, she had a stroke and moved in with me and my family in Provo, Utah for the last half of the 1990s.  She lived in the sunlight basement apartment we built for her.  It was during this time that my children learned about her life.  She shared with them the love of old stories, Anne of Green Gables particularly.  Mom listed this book as a special childhood birthday gift she remembered receiving.  My girls occasionally invaded mom's apartment with books or movies and sleeping bags to spend the evening getting caught in the fantasies.  I credit Grandma Ellie with introducing them to the joys of these books, along with their own mother.  Admittedly, at times, it seemed a bit frivolous to me.  But when I heard the girls' comments over the past few days, what I thought of as perhaps simplistic was actually life changing: Blair loved reading and sharing stories and movies with Grandma Ellie, Brooke became a reading specialist school teacher and an aspiring author, and Whitney credited Grandma Ellie (on Facebook) with introducing her to her first love, Mr. Darcy.  Such was mom's life: simplistically intelligent.


She moved back to Spokane in 1999, stopped driving, lived in the elderly care facilities run by Debbie and Don, and enjoyed being around her grand children.

Remembrances

I asked her children what they remembered about her:

  • Rich
    • Sitting with her father singing old irish songs around the old potbellied coal stove. 
    • When he was 4-years old or so, mom gave him 50 cents to get some bologna but he was given ground beef.  Beef was rationed during the war and they couldn't figure out why they got the ground beef.
  • Keith
    • Always supported his activities. She waited up and cooked him dinner late at night when he came home from wrestling, often liver and onions.
    • Later in life, she always talked with him about any issues; was still supportive.
  • Dennis
    • Remembers that mom often would come into his room at night, kiss him, and stroke his forehead while he fell asleep.
  • Vicki
    • Mom told all the old fables, How the Skunk Got His Stripe, etc., and sang songs.
  • Liz
    • Remembers calling up mom once during college when she was particularly discouraged.  Mom said, “Look up as you walk to school.”
    • Mom was always generous with the little money she had.
  • Alan
    • Remembered coming home from school one day with mom being visibly shaken, propping herself up on the kitchen counter.  After a pause, mom reported that she saw the neighbour flip his tractor while plowing the hill.  She was the first to arrive to see Mr. Knutsen trapped between the tractor and the plow.  Nothing could be done for him and it took her days to recover.
  • Don
    • Reported that she sang while she worked around the house.
    • When she was mad at us, she ran through the whole list of kids' names while chasing you with a broom.
  • ME
    • Mom liked to argue and, I think, sometimes she said things just to argue.
    • But the image that most captures my mother for me comes from when she lived with us in Utah.  When Rhece was barely toddling, mom held his hands and walked him around the yard stopping to smell each flower lingering at the ones she planted outside her window.

Little Things

My last interaction with mom occurred when she joined my family for Christmas dinner at Shenanigan’s, which might have been the last time she ventured out of the house.  I picked her up from Don's and we had a chance to talk as I drove.  A few memorable events occurred during dinner.   Bishop, plug your ears on this one:  In the middle of dinner, she asked for a taste of my wine.  I told her, “It is wine.”  She said, “I know.  I just want a taste.”  She took a small sip and set the glass down.  A little later, she took a second sip, then reported she didn't much like it.  And Debbie, plug your ears on this one: She had to have a dessertpumpkin pie.  Little things made her happy and she received too few of 'little things' and too little 'happiness.'

Alan’s Testimony

Alan will now read a poem mom wrote about her father and add a few words.

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