Nov 17th 1916 - Jun 29th 2012
Through the life of Elsie Montie we are reminded that happiness is not found in what we own or through the perceptions that others have about us, but that it is through loving and serving others that we are richly blessed. She was a kindhearted and selfless woman who viewed her family as her greatest gift. With an unwavering faith as her constant companion, Elsie’s life exemplifies what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she served. With a life that spanned nearly a century, she created a brilliant tapestry of memories that will remain forever near and dear to the hearts of those she leaves behind.
Much has changed in America since the early 1900s. Our nation faced numerous issues such as unsafe working conditions in every city and town from coast to coast, and with a lack of child labor laws it was often our youngsters who fell victim to these dangers the most. In fact, the nation’s youth were found in the workplace so commonly during that generation that less than 10 percent of the students who began their education ever graduated. It was during this unprecedented time that a young couple, Ben and Daisy (Kline) Eckart, from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, was eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby. Their wait was over on November 17th when the baby girl they named Elsie May drew her first breath. She was one of four children in her family and was raised in the family home in the small town of Alpena, Michigan, alongside her sisters, Blanche and Florence, and her brother, Robert. She attended local schools and went on to graduate from Alpena High School. Elsie later attended college as well.
With her education behind her Elsie was ready for the working world. She spent over 40 years working as a controller at Montgomery Ward, her work ethic unmatched.
Over the years there was nothing that brought Elsie more happiness than surrounding herself with her loved ones. She always made herself available for whatever anyone in her family needed, especially her nieces and nephews whom she loved as her own children.
Along her life’s journey Elsie’s life was enriched in so many ways. She was a member of First United Methodist Church until 1970 when she moved to Grand Rapids. At that time she became a member of North Lawn United Methodist. Elsie touched the lives of so many others through her many volunteer efforts. Much of her time was spent volunteering for the American Red Cross, and she also freely gave many hours to Grand Rapids area hospitals and the VA Hospital. Elsie was also involved in the Zonta Club, an organization that seeks to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. She was an incredible bowler and a member of several bowling leagues through the years. Elsie was even bowling on teams when she was 91! When she was relaxing at home she loved watching the Detroit Tigers play baseball, and she also loved playing cards. One of the highlights of her week was when she got together with friends to play cards. During her retirement years Elsie had even more time to pursue her interests, especially volunteering, traveling, playing cards, and bowling.
There were so many things that made Elsie unique and so easy to love. She had a classic style, and looking her best was important to her. Elsie always dressed fashionably and had her hair done on a weekly basis. Her kind and generous personality drew others to her with ease, and she was always looking for ways she could help those around her in ways both great and small. As her friends and family can attest, Elsie was certainly her own woman. She was famous for saying things like, “I’m not sleeping, just resting my eyes,” and, “is that soup thin or thick, bowl or cup?”
Throughout her journey Elsie Montie experienced firsthand times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, which all shaped her into the extraordinary woman who was so dearly loved. She was outgoing and friendly; a stranger to none and a friend to all. Elsie will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.
Elsie May Montie of Alpena died Friday, June 29, 2012, at her residence at Turning Brook. Elsie’s family includes several nieces and nephews. Elsie was preceded in death by two sisters, Blanche Ross and Florence Newhouse; and her brother, Robert Eckhart. Family and friends will gather on Monday, July 2, 2012, at McWilliams Funeral Home – Alpena from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the memorial service at 12:00 noon with Rev. Gene Bacon officiating. Inurnment will be at Evergreen Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to First United Methodist Church. Please visit Elsie’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you may share a memory or sign the on-line guest book.