Feb 16th 1932 - Aug 17th 2012
When people remember Ellen Meddaugh, they will remember the smell of fresh, homemade bread, the aroma which so often filled her home. Straightforward, wholesome, loved by all – Ellen actually had quite a lot in common with her bread. She was the soul of generosity, and no one ever left her house without a full belly and a smile. Her warm heart, her uncanny ability to connect with people, and her sincere joy in helping others will live on in the hearts and memories of all those whose lives she touched.
Ellen was born on February 16, 1932, to proud parents Frederick and Anna Marie (Diemond) Leeck. She was the baby of the family, the youngest of twelve children (six girls and six boys). The Leecks lived in Wilson Township, Alpena County, Michigan, where they worked a family farm. Frederick Leeck was a classic farmer, tough, independent and strong-willed, who would eventually die in the fields, doing what he loved. Anna Marie was just as hard-working as her husband, and famous for her baked goods; she would live to be 105 years old.
As a child, Ellen learned all her mother’s cooking secrets, mastering family recipes, baking, and bread-making. In addition to these practical skills, Frederick and Anna Marie also taught their children the even more important lessons of religious faith and family values. They instilled and inspired in Ellen a deep love of family, which she would eventually pass on to her own children. In her free time, Ellen enjoyed playing baseball with a twist – although they had a ball, the Leecks just used a homemade board as a bat! She also liked spending the night at the Wilburs, and formed close friendships with Jean Hoffer and Lucille Werth.
The years went by, and almost without knowing it Ellen grew into a beautiful young lady. She cared about her appearance, not out of vanity but out of respect for herself and others, and enjoyed shopping for jewelry and clothing. Outgoing and friendly, Ellen made friends easily at school, and was involved in a variety of social activities. She belonged to The Grange and the Luther League, and often went to farmers’ picnics and school picnics. She also loved dancing, and in fact it was at a local dance that she met her future husband, James J. Meddaugh.
Ellen married James, her one true love, on March 3, 1950, at St. Anne Catholic Church of Alpena. In the years to come, Ellen and James were blessed with six children, three boys and three girls: Jim, Jerry, Margo, Anna, Peg, and John. Ellen was a wonderful mother, hard-working, loving, and respectful. She was an amazing cook, and the whole family looked forward to her homemade meals. Ellen was blessed with the ability to create close and loving connections with family and friends, and as a result her home was always filled with warmth, laughter, and happiness.
In addition to her busy life as a mother and homemaker, Ellen also worked for many years as a custodian and bus driver for Alpena Public Schools. She was community-minded, and actively participated in the Lutheran’s Missionary League of Immanuel Lutheran Church, the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post #2496, the Cooties, and the Altar Guild. At home, Ellen loved the domestic arts – gardening, sewing, knitting, and baking – as well as playing cards. She also liked having dogs around, especially favorite pets Sammy and Suzie.
In 1991, Ellen retired from her position as a bus driver. She took advantage of her newfound leisure to travel, and particularly enjoyed visiting friends and relatives. She became a proud grandmother and great-grandmother, and loved spending time with her grandchildren. Warm and welcoming, Ellen’s home was always open to others, especially her beloved family members.
Generous, hard-working, and kind, Ellen was a devoted wife, a loving mother and grandmother, and a loyal friend. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by her many friends and family members.
Ellen Alice Meddaugh died on August 17, 2012, at the age of 80, surrounded by her loving family. She was preceded in death by her husband, James; her sisters, Bessie Egalski, Anna Hubbard, and Evelyn Grablick; and her brothers, Clarence, Wilbert, Frederick, Gordon, Ervin, and Elmer Leeck. Ellen’s family includes her children, James (Elaine) Meddaugh of Alpena, Gerald (Gail) Meddaugh of Ossineke, Margo (Larry) Hencye of Ft. Wayne, IN, Anna (Raymond) Dubie of Frankfort, IL, Peggy (Douglas) Huiting of Alpena, and John (Lori) Meddaugh of Traverse City; twelve grandchildren; eleven great-grandchildren; and her sisters, Shirley Zimmer of Pennsylvania and Janet (Arleigh) Smith of Alpena.
Ellen Meddaugh is at McWilliams Funeral Home – Alpena, where friends may call on Sunday from 2 to 8 p.m, and on Monday at Immanuel Lutheran Church from 10 a.m. until the time of the funeral service at 11 a.m. Rev. James Erickson will officiate. Interment will be at Evergreen Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Rev. Gerhardt Luebke Scholarship Fund. Please visit Ellen’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can learn more about her life, share a favorite memory or photo, and sign the online guestbook.