Mary Ellen (Schmoker) Endsley, 92, passed away on May 15, 2020 at Solterra Senior Living. She was born on Jan. 12, 1928 to Fred and Grace Schmoker, in southeast Kansas on a farm near Earlton.
Ellen was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Fred (Bill); three brothers, Harold, John and Walter; and two daughters, Julie and Rebecca (Becky).
She is survived by two sons, Douglas (Cindy) of Chandler and Donald (Valerie) of Litchfield Park; two sisters, Hazel Wright of Kearny and Dorothy Gyger of Atlanta; as well as numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and many nephews and nieces.
Ellen grew up on the farm with her two elder brothers and her younger two sisters and brother. She helped with haying, gardening, gathering eggs, hoeing the corn fields, picking off potato bugs. She attended first through eighth grade at a country school named Little Friend, and, grades nine through 11 at a Junior /Senior High in Chanute, Kansas.
The summer before Ellen started her senior year, the family moved to Glendale, AZ, where she graduated from high school, attended a year of Junior College in Phoenix, before going to work for Valley National Bank in Phoenix.
She met Bill on a blind date, riding in the rumble seat of a Model A. Three months later, he and his twin brother, Ted (Bob), joined the Navy, serving the Pacific, but not together, until World War II was over 16 months later. Bill and Ellen were married six months later in Glendale at the First Baptist Church.
Bill attended Lamson Business College while she continued working at the bank, until they were expecting their first child, when Bill quit school and they moved to Ray, where he took up work for Kennecott Copper near Ray. Their children were all born at the old Ray Hospital and graduated from Ray/Kearny Schools; except Rebecca, who died at seven years of age.
They were instrumental in starting the First Baptist Church of Ray in their home and, later, the church and most of the members moved to Kearny, when Kennecott decided to mine the town area of Ray. They both taught Sunday School classes at their church, both in Ray and Kearny, where she also played the piano and organ. Ellen started to work at Ray High School in Kearny, where she stayed for almost 30 years, retiring in 1989. Bill passed away in 1990.
They loved to travel, visiting 48 of the 50 states, and she visited all but two of the continents: South America and Antarctica.
Ellen was a gracious lady, with great leadership and people skills, and a winsome way about her. She often helped out at the church, getting up early in the morning to clean and organize. At times, she would even perform services for another church, when they needed it. Even in her later years, with the pain of arthritis, she was known as someone who “just keeps going and going and going”. She loved to take care of others, serving her community and teaching children both as her vocation and her volunteer work. She also loved to play piano and organ, and was so good at it that the other church she volunteered at would adjust their schedule during the summertime so that they could hear her play.
Ellen will be missed by her family and friends, former students and so many people whose lives she touched with her generosity and kindness.
Services will be given by Pastor Joe Palmer on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 1 p.m.