Ella Mae Howell was born Ella Mae Best on July 7, 1917, on the family farm in Cisne, Illinois, to George Franklin and Mayme Mae (Straub) Best. She passed away on Sunday, November 4, 2018, at her home in Duncan. She was 101 years old.
Family visitation is scheduled for Wednesday, November 7, 5:30-7:30 P.M. at Whitt Funeral Home. Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday, November 8, at 10:30 A.M. at the First United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. Janice Sharp officiating. Interment will follow at the Duncan Municipal Cemetery. Arrangements have been entrusted to Whitt Funeral.
Ella Mae lived with her parents and six other siblings while she was growing up. She attended schools in Fairfield, Illinois, and college in Carbondale, Illinois. She married the love of her life, Harold Thomas Howell, in 1941 in Baltimore, Maryland. After she married Harold and he went into the service, she moved to Duncan in 1945 to be nearer to Harold’s mother. She has been an active citizen of this area since that time.
She was employed as First United Methodist Church director of nurseries for over 50 years, retiring at the age of 90. She has been active in the church since 1948. She enjoyed gardening and making quilts. She was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and the Saint Louis Blues hockey team. She enjoyed reading historical novels and westerns. In 2007, she was crowned the 24th Stephens County Founder's Day queen. She was the 2009 Prairie House volunteer of the year. Ella Mae was known to family and friends alike as "Gran".
Ella Mae is survived by her children, Camellia Foster and husband Billy Don, and Tommy Howell and wife Juanice; grandchildren, Heath Whitney and wife Cindy, Heather McCormick and husband Chris, Jessica Grissom and husband Joel, and John Wheeler; and great grandchildren, Halle and Jackson McCormick, Afton Whitney, and Gracei and Lindi Grissom.
She was preceded in death by her husband; parents; brothers, Waldo, Fredrick and Frank Edward Best; and sisters, Margie Ashworth, Dorothy Best, and Mary Bell Best Taylor.
Serving as pallbearers will be Chris McCormick, Jackson McCormick, Heath Whitney, J.D. Foster, Kenneth Lewis, and Tommy Howell.
Memorial contributions can be made in her name to the First United Methodist Church Children's Fund.
Online condolences can be made to the family at www.whittfh.com.