Marie Parsons Ellis, a 70 year resident of Burbank, died peacefully in her home on May 14, 2014, at the age of 95 with her friend Violet Mahoney at her side. She was much loved and admired by her family, and will be dearly missed by all of us and by her friends.
Marie was an inspiration, a loving mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and great grandmother, who showed each of us how to live a life of purpose. She was determined to maintain her independence. She was engaged and social, even to her last day. She recently hosted her birthday party and a Mother's Day event at her home. She even prepared some of the food for her own 95th birthday party.
Marie was born on a farm in Spencer, West Virginia, to loving parents Donald Smith and Orva Norman Parsons. She graduated from high school at age 16, and went to work in Parkersburg, West Virginia, as a seamstress in Elsie Norman's Fancy Fur and Dress Shop. Charming and pretty, she was voted Miss Parkersburg County at age 17. She enjoyed her work and her customers, so she continued to sew and do clothing alterations at Judd's in Beverly Hills, then at Pendarvis, Rathbuns in North Hollywood, Buffums in Glendale, and out of her home, until the age of 86, a 70 year career.
In 1941, Marie moved across the country to Glendale and married her beau from high school, William Ellis. Near the end of World War II, they bought a house in Burbank, where Marie lived for the rest of her life. Marie was a very involved mother, who was PTA president, leader of the Camp Fire Girls, and worked at Luther Burbank Junior High, while raising four children. She was an excellent cook, and taught her children how to prepare delicious meals from scratch.
Marie was a devoted member of the Presbyterian Church, originally in Glendale, where she was part of the Mariners. Later she joined Burbank First Presbyterian Church, where she served as an active treasurer and deacon, serving members of the church until she was in her eighties. She worked in the Lord's Kitchen at her church on Saturdays, serving those who were in need of a hot meal. Marie also enjoyed being an involved member of PEO.
When Marie was in her sixties and seventies, she began to travel and see the world with her brother and sister and close friends. She traveled to Europe, Alaska, Prince Edward Island in Canada, and New Zealand. Her extended family was extremely important to her, and she loved to visit her parents in Ohio, her brother and sister in Florida, and participate in as many family occasions as she could. She was delighted to be able to dance at her grandson's wedding at age 88, and she was excited to have great grandchildren.
Marie and her home have been the center of the universe to her family: children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins. She welcomed into her home in Burbank a total of five generations of her ancestors, descendants and siblings. Marie is survived by her brother Randall Parsons, age 97, younger sister Norma Thorn, children Earl, Tad, Jill, and Alex Ellis, grandchildren Melissa, Kate, David, Daryl, Marie, Julie, and Emma, and great grandchildren Taylor and Lincoln.
Memorial services will be held at the Burbank First Presbyterian Church on July 20 at 2:00 PM with a reception to follow.