ARZULA DELTHA MILLER ELLIS, 89
ARZULA DELTHA MILLER ELLIS, 89, died 3 June 2012, peacefully at her home in Rigby.
She was the seventh of 10 children born 16 July 1922 in a 2-room log home on a farm in the Menan area, to Henry Edwin and Caroline Gneiting Miller. She was expected to care for her elderly grandmother and younger nieces and siblings at a young age, and learned to work on the farm thinning and harvesting crops. She graduated from schools in Menan and Midway, and enjoyed dancing to the live bands at Riverside Gardens at the beginning of the Big Band era.
She married James Wendell Ellis on 9 Aug. 1941 in Menan. This marriage was solemnized 4 March 1965 in the Oakland LDS Temple. Following the marriage they lived in Swan Valley. First child, James L. Ellis, was born in Idaho Falls. This young family moved to Soledad, Calif., when World War II started in December 1942. Three children joined the family – Betty, Judy, and Richard. There were no LDS members in Soledad, so Arzula held Primary and Relief Society in her home for 10 years, and was president of both at the same time, in addition to many community activities in which she was involved.
She started seminary in the Salinas Valley after her children were grown, and taught for six years. They finally returned home to Idaho after 36 years in California.
Wendell and Arzula moved to Blackfoot in 1978 and beautified an old home on Riverton Road. They had wonderful neighbors and friends. A highlight in her life was learning about a special young lady, Donna Carson, who contracted polio when she was serving her mission in 1955 and was completely paralyzed. She became a regular caregiver to Donna, who was never released from her mission. [The Donna Carson Story: A Legacy of Love, Dec 1992 ENSIGN] Arzula was Relief Society president in Blackfoot three years.
They were called to serve a full-time LDS mission in Arkansas Little Rock Mission, and loved the people and the opportunity to serve. Before Wendell passed on, Arzula wanted to move closer to her home in Menan, so in 1992 they bought property near Rigby and had a manufactured home set up while beginning to beautify their new little corner of the world, planting pine trees, flowers, garden, etc.
Arzula worked 11 ½ years in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple, and was Relief Society president three of those years. She again served a full-time mission in Salt Lake City at the Family History Center in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, in 2006-2007.
Arzula has always had a positive attitude, lots of smiles and happiness – always thinking of the other person and sacrificing much for her family and strangers as well. Throughout her life, her love for and testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ has been foremost. She made sure her children were in church and associated meetings, even though there were many miles to travel. She has undoubtedly been the glue in our family.
Besides raising her family, she attended Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif.; worked hard helping her husband earn a living working at the local Rexall Pharmacy in Soledad, City Library, US Postal Service, and Soledad Theatre managed by her husband.
After retiring and moving to Blackfoot the Ellis couple worked together as church custodians for several years. Since Arzula’s diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia, she has gone through so many changes. She has greeted many visitors and told story after story, seeming to entertain those visitors. She is full of love for everyone, and she is truly a wonderful and amazing lady.
Survivors include children: Betty (Dal) Gordon of St. George, Utah; Judy (Harley) Jentzsch of Hyde Park, Utah; and Richard (Marsha) Ellis of Newdale; siblings Gene Miller of Menan, Luana (Garn) Thueson of Annis, and Faun (William) Dutson of Idaho Falls; 16 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
She was preceded in death by her husband Wendell in 1994, son Jim in 2007, three grandchildren—Karl James Ellis (1983), Jessica Claire Thomas (1993), and Lieutenant Colonel Todd M. Valentine USAF (2006), and one great-grandchild, Katelyn Sappington (1997).
A sincere expression of thanks is extended to Rigby 2nd Ward members, the Young Men who reverently administered the Sacrament to Arzula each Sunday of her last few weeks, Relief Society presidency and members, bishopric and stake presidency, as well as Dr. Dickson and the Alliance Group (Hospice) staff who have cared for Arzula. The Ellis family also appreciates family and friends who have visited/phoned, brought food, flowers, cards, gifts, and especially love and prayers.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at the Rigby 2nd Ward LDS Chapel, 4021 E. 300 N. Rigby, with Bishop Brent Kunz, conducting.
The family will receive friends Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Eckersell Memorial Chapel, 101 W. Main Street, Rigby and from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., prior to services at the church.
Burial will be in the Annis Little Butte Cemetery, under the care of Eckersell Memorial Chapel in Rigby.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.eckersellfuneralhome.com