Elsie Kathleen Peller, age 94 of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, passed away peacefully early Saturday morning, May 5, 2012 at War Memorial Hospital.
Elsie was born on January 20, 1918 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to the late Charles and Daisy (Jarvis) Kelly. She graduated from St. Benedict High School in Highland Park, Michigan in 1935. Through a mutual friend, Elsie began corresponding with Francis Peller from Sault Ste. Marie in 1934. Elsie and Francis met in person 1936 and were married on February 7, 1937 in Highland Park, Michigan, later moving to Sault Ste. Marie. Elsie has lived in Sault Ste. Marie since this time, where she and Francis raised 6 children. Elsie retired from Food Service at Lake Superior State University, where she worked for many years.
As children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, many of us enjoyed time visiting while Mom/Grandma recounted stories of her childhood: watching her parents sit on their front porch swing while her father sang Irish love songs to his beloved wife, Daisy; and a favorite, reflecting on her softball playing days when she often described how, "we weren't the rich kids, we didn't have gloves, we just used these," emphatically stated while she pounded her hands together. Elsie was a member of the Detroit City Recreation League Softball Championship team in 1935.
Elsie was very involved in her children's lives. She was highly active in their elementary school, St. Joseph's, along with St. Joseph's Church. She was always busy with fund raising and PTA efforts. Elsie was active in the Hiawatha Skating Club as a judge, president, and board member from 1965 through the early 1970s. Elsie continued attending the annual ice show through March 2012.
Elsie was known throughout the Sault in basketball circles as "Grandma" to many. From 1994 through 2006, she faithfully followed basketball at Sault Area Schools and Lake Superior State University. Many a referee and a coach or two may have received correction to Grandma’s interpretation of their judgment. Elsie was strongly independent, walking out to her mailbox daily for mail and paper up until April of this year, driving to the grocery store and church, and through last summer, Elsie still cut her own grass on her beloved riding lawn mower with the assistance of her neighbor, Russ Izzard. The family will always appreciate the assistance Russ provided to help Elsie maintain her independence, cutting the lawn she couldn't get to, picking up mail during inclement weather, and faithfully plowing her driveway.
Elsie is survived by her children: Laura Norton of Lena, WI; Verna Porth of Shelbyville, TN; Richard (Sylvia) Peller of Lapeer, MI; Patrick (Mary Jo) Peller of Shelbyville, TN; and Kathleen (David) Smithers of Sault Ste. Marie, MI. She is also survived by 16 grandchildren: Gene Norton, Lori King, Richard King, Todd Norton, Charles Peller, Kristi Norton, Meghan Fang, Kelly Peller, Tyson Cobb, Russell Peller, John, David, and Jody Burchell, Bryan Peller, and Sarah and Scott Smithers; and 17 great-grandchildren: Shane and Krysti Norton, Becky Marquardt King, Dillon King, Carrie and Ally King, Sean Norton, Michael Peller and Cynthia Gardner, Matthew and Nathan Casey, Jade Fang, Matthew, Adam, Dottie, Jasmine and Jordan Burchell. Elsie also had 14 great-great grandchildren.
Elsie was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Francis; a son and daughter-in-law, Chuck and Shirley Peller; and a great-grandson, Bobby Marquardt.
Elsie was a faithful member of St. Issac Jogues Church for the past 10 years. Funeral services will be held at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church with Brother John Hascall as celebrant. Friends may call at the church from 1:00 PM until the time of the service. Interment will be at Oaklawn Chapel Gardens at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be left to Hospice of the EUP or St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church.