Eleanor “Ellie” Cecelia Schunk entered this world April 20, 1924, at home on Boomer Road, near Cincinnati Ohio born to Christine Schulze Schunk and Charles H. Schunk. She joined three sisters Estelle, Lillian and Agnes and later a brother Morris and sister Vera.
Ellie passed away October 23, 2017, at Holy Rosary Hospital in Miles City, MT at the age of 93 surrounded by family.
Growing up, Ellie learned to work hard on the farm (milking, shocking wheat, digging potatoes) but to have fun too. She played softball, basketball, was in school plays & Glee Club operettas. She taught Sunday school classes and sang in her church choir. Dancing was the favorite social activity for her & her siblings. She loved to dance and often said “I’d rather dance than eat anytime.” She was also a (devoted fan) of “Gone with the Wind” and went to the premier showing of that movie in Cincinnati.
After graduating from high school (a few months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor), she worked at Reliance Life Insurance Co. for 10 years, starting as a temporary secretary and making her way up to cashier (office boss).
Ellie came out west for vacations and in August 1952, when she went to the IXL dude ranch for the fifth year, she met Jim. Jim was raised near Sundance, WY and had just bought a ranch in Montana. Jim traveled to Ohio that year for Christmas and they were married December 27, 1952.
They moved into the old log house by the Powder River and Ellie fit right in to the life of rancher’s wife; raising gardens, canning, making bread and butter, as well as helping Jim work cattle, put up hay, build fence, etc… She talked fondly of the unplanned (no telephone) visits to & from neighbors. Through this, they raised 3 children, Jim Jr., Tom & Sue. Ellie mentioned raking hay on a hot day with 3 squalling kids beside her in the Jeep! Hunting season was another busy time as she boarded hunters which Jim guided. They became lifelong friends with some of those hunters.
In 1970 the family moved into the new house where Ellie still lived. The boys gradually took on more of the outside work but Ellie stayed busy with her own work. She was a great cook – especially her pies which won a lot of blue ribbons at the county fair. At age 92, she still made all the pies for the 2016 family Christmas dinner.
She also loved growing flowers – which was a challenge with drought, grasshoppers, hail and poor water- but she had a lot of joy in them. Reading was another pastime for her.
Ellie treasured her family – and showed it to all of them, always putting others ahead of herself. She loved and supported her kids and grandkids. She was proud of all her grandkids and mentioned recently how good they have been to her in visiting, playing games (if Grandma was your 500 partner, you were going to win!) and just talking. She was so pleased to be a great-grandmother and looked forward to the expected arrival of another. She kept close ties with her Ohio sisters and brother and their families.
Ellie would say she had a rich full life but she said “you always want a little bit more (time)”
When God called her from this world she must have heard “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
She is survived by one sister Vera Schunk and sisters-in-law Carol Schunk and Margaret White, children James H. Jr. (Kathy), Tom (Carla) of Broadus and Susan (Dennis) Schaefer of Billings, grandchildren Sherry (Coaly) Huckins, Kristy (John) Elgin, Mike Bowers, Bill (Stephanie), Tyler Bowers, Matthew and Melissa Schaefer, one great-grandson Nicholas Bowers and one expected great-granddaughter and numerous nieces and nephews.
Ellie was preceded in death by an infant son John August Bowers, her parents, husband James H. Bowers Sr., sisters Estelle Hoeweler, Agnes Greber, Lillian Supe, brother Morris (Bud) Schunk, brothers in-law Albert Hoeweler, Carl Greber, Elmer Supe, Herman White, Wilford Kennedy, sisters in-law Helen Ellard and Lois Kennedy.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, October 27, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Faith Bible Church in Broadus. Interment will follow in the Valley View Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com.
Should friends desire, memorials may be made to Scramble 4 a Cure (Local Cancer Fund) or Powder River Manor and may be sent to Carla Bowers 233 E River Rd. Broadus, MT 59317.