Life Story / Obituary
Loving, generous, and kind, Ella Browe lived a faith-centered life, rich in family and service to others. With unwavering integrity and boundless energy, Ella was beautiful inside and out. She absolutely radiated God’s love to all and proved a powerful role model for all who were blessed to know her. A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, and treasured friend, Ella dearly loved and will forever be remembered and missed by all who knew her.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1935 gave birth to many celebrated firsts. While reeling in the heartache of Black Sunday, our nation’s 20.1% unemployment rate and the gathering war clouds as Germany passed the Nuremberg laws, Americans found much hope in Amelia Earhart’s’ first solo Pacific flight, the inventions of parking meters, fluorescent tubes for light, and the game of Monopoly, as well as the first Orange Bowl, first Pacific Airmail delivery, and the first Technicolor film; Mickey Mouse. In Denver, Colorado Frank and Alice Sheesley held much hope for the future as they celebrated the birth of their daughter Ella on March 7th.
Growing up in Denver during the 30s and 40s, Ella attended a one-room schoolhouse along with her siblings, Bill, James, and Dorothy. Her graduating class had seven members!
In 1959, Ella had the good fortune of meeting the love of her life, Donald Browe, Sr. while working together at the same retail store in Pennsylvania. It didn’t take long for the young couple to fall in love and begin planning a future together; on September 16, 1961, Ella and Don happily married.
In time, Don’s job brought them to Portage, Michigan where they made their home for the rest of their lives. Ella and Don enjoyed the labors of raising their three children together. Elizabeth (who died at 13 from serious health problems), Donald Jr., and Ann were the center of Ella’s life, and she relished in being their mother. Over the years, Ella worked for several companies giving in-home demonstrations. With a naturally enthusiastic personality, she successfully sold Avon, toys, and crafts. Later, she worked as a food demonstrator at Sam’s Club where her smile and pleasant nature made for good company as well as delicious samples.
Ella enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. Playing cards, working word searches, and reading romances always gave her pleasure. As did a meal out at Red Lobster and watching her beloved Tigers take the field. Listening to her favorite old Hymns brought her both peace and joy. She liked to experiment in the kitchen and traded cooking duties on and off with Don. For over 30 years, Ella was a proud member of Mapleview Baptist Church where she was a quiz coach for early elementary students, and played on the church softball team. She later became a member of Berean Baptist Church where she served as a Sunday school teacher for three and four-year-olds.
Though the few trips back to Colorado were nice, Ella’s most treasured memories were time spent with her family. She loved Thanksgiving. The day afforded much celebrating of her blessings while sharing the good company of those she loved best. Surrounded by family, enjoying good food, and playing games with her grandkids was Ella’s great delight. She loved catching up on what was going on in everyone’s lives and sharing in their hopes for the future. She especially enjoyed attending her granddaughter’s soccer games.
After Don retired from JC Penney in 1995, he and Ella enjoyed 16 more loving years together. Unfortunately, in November of 2010, Don was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and died a few short months later in April of 2011. Though life was not the same in the absence of her loving husband of 50 years, with firm faith and a strong spirit, Ella did the necessary work to embrace the gifts of each day she was given. A woman who embodied her beliefs, Ella loved completely, and her heart proved safe harbor for those she loved.
It is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Ella’s bright light. May the many sweet memories we share of this good woman soften our loss, and may the honor of carrying her legacy forward provide deep comfort. With each romance novel we read, moments we hear the inspiring sounds of Amazing Grace, and In The Garden, and kindness we extend to another we keep Ella’s spirit alive in our daily lives where she can continue to inspire others as she so inspired us.
Ella Mae (Sheesley) Browe was born March 7, 1935. She went to be with her Lord and Savior on October 8, 2018, at the age of 83. Ella is survived by her son: Donald Browe Jr.; daughter: Ann Race; grandchildren: Jordan, Joshua, Jarred, and Sophia Browe, Richard, Rachel, Ronel, Razilee, and Rodney Race; and great-grandchildren: Gavin, Peyton, Aubree, Ella, and Bradley. Ella is preceded in death by her parents: Frank and Alice Sheesley; husband: Don Browe Sr.; brothers: Bill and James Sheesley; sister: Dorothy (Sheesley) Meadows; daughter: Beth Browe; and son-in-law: David Race. The family will receive friends on Thursday, October 11 from 4-7 PM at the McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, 5975 Lovers Lane Portage, MI 49002 (269-344-5600). A service will be held on Friday, October 12 at 11 AM at Berean Baptist Church, 7813 S. 12th St. Portage, MI 49024.
Please visit Ella’s page at www.mccowesecord.com where you can read her life story, share a memory, and sign the guest book.
The family is being assisted by McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, 5975 Lovers Lane Portage, MI 49002 (269-344-5600).