Obituary for Ella Ellis - East Idaho News
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Ella Ellis

August 2nd, 1939 - May 21st, 2023

Ella “Ellie” Ellis joined our Lord and Savior on May 21st after a late advanced cancer diagnosis. She never indicated nor did we see her suffer great pain. She passed peacefully surrounded by family, and as she drew her final breath her son gently told her, “Go to the Father, and don’t look back.”

Ellie was born to Robert Sumner Bach and Lula Mae Bach (Smith). Her father was a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service special agent serving the western United States and Texas, and did some work with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of British Columbia, Canada. The small family settled in Boise, Idaho when she was young. She was named after a grandmother she never knew, who was one of two sisters raised at the St Peters Catholic Mission near Cascade, Montana in the late 1880’s. Their mother (Ella’s great-grandmother) was Girl Wolfhouse of the Native American Gros Ventre people.

She was no stranger to hard work. Her mother a traditional mom and housewife of the day, taught her, and she in turn taught her kids the same. She shared in her school years; they had black ink wells at each desk. The boys would stick her braided hair into the ink. There is a memorable is a picture of her as a young girl in an Easter dress with her mother standing beside the Cross on Table Rock overlooking Boise during the war years while her brother was in the U.S. Navy and away in the south Pacific islands. In 1945, Ella wrote a letter to Santa asking ‘¼please send me some toys and send Billy (her brother) home to us’. During high school she worked as an usher and in ticket booth sales at the Boise Theater (which was razed in the 1970’s during the downtown Boise destruction) and the Ada Theater having beautiful Egyptian décor and known today as Boise’s historic Egyptian Theater. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places. She frequently walked a few miles to and from work there but her father also drove her now and then. Her hard-earned money was used to pay for much needed dental work. At school she was a Boise Chiefs majorette and in 1957 she graduated from Boise High School.

From her upbringing she developed a love for the outdoors, fishing, some bird hunting, some target shooting, cooking wild game, wild berry picking, looking for arrowheads, camping, traveling, and taking photos. At a young age she exhibited a natural ability and creativity with painting which she developed into a celebrated artistic style all her own. Her scratch ink and paintings almost always featured rustic barns, old forgotten farm wagons, and mountain scenes. She amazed her children with how quickly she could ‘throw together’ a beautiful ‘old west’ painting. Her unique style and talent as an artist are widely recognized by many in southeast Idaho and while she was always thrilled to display her paintings at the SE Idaho State Fair, area businesses, or to sell a painting, she shied away from the limelight and art guilds stating she really didn’t have anything in common with them. To happen upon old hand saws and saw blades to paint on was a treat for her.

She always stayed positive, loved pets, enjoyed holidays, a little wine, sampling various trays and dips, homemade peach ice cream, her mothers tamale pies and shrimp pizza, family gatherings, sit down meals, socializing, the INL Retirees Association, Christmas bazaars, church auctions, baked food sales, and the High Desert Photographers Camera Club activities to name a few. Following Dave’s passing in 2017, she continued to fill her days by taking walks, painting, photography, drives around the countryside, and lunches with friends. Her hands were always busy – whether it was painting, knitting, crocheting, sketching, or taking care of her plants. She was delighted whenever she encountered wildlife in nature – moose, elk, migratory birds, and deer were among her favorites.

Ella married Wilbert R. Beck, whom she met in her junior year of high school, while her father was assigned in Victoria, Texas. Wilbert and Ella eventually made their way back to Idaho where they raised four children in Arco. She and Wilbert were later divorced. While still living in Arco, Ella married David G. Ellis in 1978. In 1976 Ella went to work at Argonne National Laboratory-West, and then in 1987 she moved to the Chemical Processing Plant (CCP) where she worked in document control and security. Dave and Ella both retired from Westinghouse Idaho Nuclear Company in 1995, and enjoyed their retirement years traveling in a motor home while exploring the southwest, and then living in St George, UT before returning to Idaho Falls to be near family. As a grandmother she crocheted many afghans, enjoyed sewing pajamas and made a beautiful costume for one of the school plays. She took time to attend this and other school programs. The time she invested sharing her love of art did not go to waste as her talents have been passed down.

Ella is preceded in death by her parents, a brother William Bach (USN), first husband Wilbert Beck, second husband David Ellis (USN), and son Leonard Beck. She is survived by a son Robert Beck (USMC) of Moore, ID, daughters Debby Tate (Ernie) of Idaho Falls, ID, and Marsha Clark (Ron) of Williamsport, PA. She has four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and wonderful nieces and nephews.

Ella’s family expresses much gratitude to everyone who took her on rides, answered her many phone calls, took her to lunch, picked her up for church, and came to visit in her last days. This included her best friend Barbara, neighbors Sherry and Tammy, and Allison, Nadine, Carole, Mamie, and Tori to name a few, and any others we have missed. Words can’t express our appreciation and gratitude to you all as well as the amazing team at Lincoln Court Retirement Community. The Christian body at CrossPoint Community Church was an important part of her life following Dave’s passing, and in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to their children’s ministry. There are no words to express how much it meant to her other than she loved you all.

While her paint brushes are now quiet, please remember, and think of her when you see an old rustic barn or tractor, beautiful mountain range or the perfect trout stream anywhere in Idaho.

The family has planned graveside memorial services at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 7, 2023, at Fielding Cemetery followed by a celebration of life barbecue. Location and details will be provided at that time.

Condolences can be sent to the family at

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