Obituary of Katherine Mae Ellis
Katherine Mae Ellis, affectionately called Kay by all who knew her, died peacefully on April 7,2015 while at Golden Empire Nursing Home. She was 93.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Grass Valley United Methodist Church on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. An interment service will immediately follow at Sierra Memorial Lawn for those who wish to attend, and her
life will continue to be celebrated at a reception at the Church. Born October 4, 1921 in Chicago, IL to Swedish Immigrants Robert and Christina Nordin, Kay and her family moved to Otsego, MI in 1934, where her father had purchased a farm. Following her graduation from high school, Kay moved to Kalamazoo, MI to work as an accountant. There, she met the love of her life, Donald (Don) Ellis. After more than ten years, while she worked in Kalamazoo, Detroit, and Chicago and Don was in the Pacific Theater during WWII and then establishing himself with a permanent job with Eastern Airlines, they married on October 3, 1953. Shortly thereafter, they moved to New Jersey, where she continued to work until their daughter, Carol, was born.
In 1959, they built a home in Bernardsville, NJ, where they lived for 28 years. During that time, Kay was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Bernardsville, serving as chair for numerous church garage sales, as an Elder of the Church for many years, and was integral in the decorating of the new Church Sanctuary which was dedicated in 1972. As their daughter grew older and went off to college, she began working at Epstein’s Department Store in Morristown, NJ in their Fashion Department. There, she helped coordinate fashion shows for the store, and, ultimately, started a free-lance modeling career of her own, doing runway modeling and print ads.
1987 brought Kay and Don to Grass Valley, where they lived in Alta Sierra until their move to town in 2004 due to Don’s deteriorating health. They loved to travel, embarking on a number of cruises as well as visiting Europe several times, including a visit to Sweden which was something Kay had always wanted to undertake. They were members of the Sierra Presbyterian Church, later joining the Grass Valley Methodist Church, where both Kay and Don were active members and volunteers. Members of the Golden Empire Flying Club, they enjoyed general aviation and the activities associated with the Club. Kay was also a proud member of the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s Auxiliary, volunteered at the Interfaith Food Ministry and a number of other organizations in the Grass Valley/Nevada City area. She also continued to model on a free-lance basis, landing bit parts and cameos in several movies and television shows.
November, 2008 brought the death of the love of her life, but Kay remained fiercely independent until her own death last week. Despite a number of hospitalizations and a long journey with dementia, Kay loved working in her garden,
traveling, and reading until the time that she became a resident at Golden Empire in 2014. Even then, she continued to have a zest for life, and enjoyed a number of activities while there. And now, she and Don have been reunited after nearly seven long years.
Kay is survived by her daughter, Carol Diane Ellis of Grass Valley and Woodbridge, NJ; her sister, Helen Packard of Kalamazoo, MI; her brother, Robert Nordin of Kalamazoo; four nieces, Jan Morgan Bogart, Violet Morgan Miller, Linda
Nordin McCall, Laura Nordin Vlietstra (all of Kalamazoo, MI) and numerous great-nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Don; her parents, Robert and Christina Nordin; and her niece, Amy Nordin Poch and nephew, Gregg Morgan.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the SNMH Foundation (Katherine Ellis, Auxiliary) at PO Box 1810, Grass Valley, CA 95945. Arrangements are under the care of Chapel of the Angels Mortuary, Grass Valley, CA.
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