Ella Shields

Ella A. Shields

Thursday, March 19th, 2020
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Together again.

On March 19th, 2020, at the age of 96, Ella A. Shields passed away at The Springs in Missoula, Montana.

Ella was born in 1923, on a farm in the vicinity of Mott, Burt, and New Leipzig, North Dakota. Her parents were Heinrich (Henry) Auch and Anna Marie Weickum Auch. Toward the end of the Great Depression Anna Marie died; after the 8th grade Ella had to leave school to care for her younger siblings: Edmund 10, Velma 6,and Lucille 3.

Ella's sister Helen and family were living in Missoula, and when Ella was 18 she moved to Missoula. She got a job taking care of Dr. Lowe's children; when the Lowes were building a new home up the Rattlesnake, Ella decided to go to California to live with brother Emil, wife Oneida, and baby Spencer. While there she and Oneida worked picking tomatoes; they took baby Spencer with them. Later she worked in a cafe. During WW II she moved back to Missoula, where she worked at White Pine and Sash and at the Florence Laundry.

In 1945 Ella married Missoula native Charles Shields. Charles had 3 years left in the Navy, and they lived in Virginia and in New York. In Virginia no one would hire sailors' wives, so Ella and her friend Frances Lewis would take the trolley uptown, eat lunch at Woolworth's, and walk around town. When they moved to New York Ella worked in a candy factory and in a uniform factory. When Charles got out of the Navy they returned to Missoula.

Ella and Charles built several houses and remodeled others, raised three kids, and were active in Democratic circles. Ella was a strong Democrat until she was about 90. She supported Charles' service on the City Council and his time on the State Board of Health. When Ella was about 90 she started watching Fox News because the crawl was easy to read. Fortunately she also quit voting then because she didn't know the candidates any more.

Ella was preceded in death by her loving husband Charles, her sister Velma Wentz, and 9 other siblings: Edward, Albert, Helen Edinger, Otto, Edwin, Martha, Emil, Edmund, and Lucille Grosz. Is it any wonder someone had to leave school to care for Edmund, Velma, and Lucille? The rest of them had left home or passed away by then.

Ella is survived by her daughter Patricia (Edward Childers) and their children Tiana Grisé and Samuel Childers; her son James (Becky) and their children Emily and Brenton; her son John and his children Curtis and Kila; and eleven great-grandchildren. She is also survived by special niece Irene Topel, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Due to the constraints of the coronavirus, there will be a graveside service for the immediate family when the stars align.

If desired, memorials may be made by donating to Partners Hospice in Ella's honor.
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