Ella Marie Friesen, 89, of Westmoreland, Kansas, died Saturday, December 8, 2012, at the Westy Community Care Home. She was a long-time resident of the area.
Ella was born on September 3, 1923 to Person and Mary Seaman in rural Republic County, Kansas. She attended Grace Hill Rural School, and graduated from Belleville High School in 1941. Ella’s father passed away in 1931, leaving his widow and eight children. The family struggled through the Depression, experiencing many difficulties.
Following her graduation from high school, Ella worked as a secretary for the principal of the school. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ella and a friend decided to assist in the war effort by going to work at the Cessna aircraft plant in Wichita. One of Ella’s duties at Cessna was operating a 16” radial arm saw, an especially dangerous activity. She met and married LaVern Friesen in Wichita on May 22, 1943. LaVern was posted to a number of Army installations during training in preparation to join the Allied war actions, and Ella stayed nearby. When LaVern was shipped out to England in mid-1944, Ella made her home with relatives until he completed his service duties in 1945.
Ella and LaVern moved to Westmoreland, where they co-owned a mechanic shop with another ex-GI. They moved to Ozawkie while LaVern served a carpentry apprenticeship in Topeka, then moved to Fairview for a time. The family moved to the family farm near Westmoreland in 1951, where they were engaged in farming for many years. Ella and LaVern moved into Westmoreland in 1991. Ella worked at the Dechairo Hospital for many years until she retired.
Ella was a dedicated wife, mother, homemaker, and employee. She mastered all of the skills and tasks required in her vocations, such as scheduler, budgeter, cook, nurse, and seamstress. She gained expertise in landscaping, gardening, and the care, feeding, and processing of livestock, and so many other tasks that were common to farm families. She was an avid quilter, and spent many hours piecing quilts with help from her family and friends. Ella wanted her children to participate in and contribute to the community. She supported her older children in 4-H projects and activities, and encouraged her younger children to be active and accomplish tasks to the best of their ability in scouting programs.
LaVern and Ella raised a family consisting of two daughters and four sons. Ella is survived by LaVonna (Paul) Goudie, Phoenix, Arizona ; Cheryl (Roger) Boles, Edmond, Oklahoma; Jimmie (Marcia), St. Paul, Minnesota; David (Marilyn), Lincoln, Nebraska; Robert (Sueann), Dearing, Kansas; and Paul (Mary Ray Cate), Santa Fe, New Mexico. A brother, Fred (Virginia) Seaman of Florida. She is also survived by fourteen grandchildren and a host of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and friends. Ella was preceded in death by her husband on June 7, 2011, her parents, and sisters Alice Seaman (infant), Sarah Kenley, Lena Kelley, and Lettie Fraser; brothers Anthony, Edwin, Jimmie and Edward (infant) Seaman.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, December 13, 2012, at the United Methodist Church in Westmoreland. Reverend Phoebe Pitney will be officiating. Burial will follow at Westmoreland City Cemetery. Mrs. Friesen will lie-in-state starting at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, at Campanella-Evans Mortuary in Wamego, where the family will greet friends from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. They suggest memorial contributions to the Westmoreland United Methodist Church or the Westy Community Care Home, and those may be sent in care of the mortuary. Online condolences can be made at www.campanellafuneral.com.