Eleanor "Ellie" Sheeler (Rough)
Eleanor "Ellie" Ruth Sheeler passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Her story started on March 2, 1927, when she was born the eldest child of Lillian and Elson Rough in Berrien County, Michigan.
She grew up on a farm with her three younger siblings: Joanne and Charles, who survive her, and also her beloved sister Jean, who preceded her in death. Her father was a farmer. He grew pota-toes, soy beans and strawberries, as well as raising dachshunds and beagles to sell at the local market. She graduated from Buchanan High School as class valedictorian.
Ellie met Clifford "Keith" Sheeler while attending Western Michigan University (WMU), where she received her bachelor's degree in teaching. She married Keith on Jan. 31, 1948, and they were married nearly for 50 years until his death in 1996. Legend has it that Ellie, never confined by social expectations, was the one who asked out Keith for their first date.
She and Keith remained in West Michigan their entire lives, raising three daughters in Portage: Barbara Blasky (Michael); Diane Conley (Tony); and Susan DeYoung. Keith was WMU's first police chief, and Ellie taught at the Portage School District for 29 years. Though both had decorated careers in public service, their children were the joys of their lives.
Ellie kept deep and meaningful friendships throughout her life, but was also fiercely independent, never wanting to trouble a friend with a personal issue she could solve herself. She was an active Methodist and an avid church-goer, attending Pathfinder Church in Portage for more than 50 years. She believed deeply in God's power to heal the human spirit, and she demonstrated that spirit with unflinching kindness and powerful empathy; whether you were a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger, Ellie offered you prayers and comfort.
When she wasn't visiting the ballpark herself, a Detroit Tigers game could often be found playing in the background. And Ellie was extremely competitive in her own right. She played weekly cards and Dominoes with a treasured group of longtime friends, and there was no playing nice -- she wanted to win, and often did, but would never rub anyone's nose in it (too much). She loved her friends, and her freedom; even at 90, she bristled at the thought of turning over the keys to her Buick.
In her death, she is reunited with her husband, Keith. She's survived by two siblings and her three daughters, as well as her grandchildren, Michael (Kristi), Joseph and Angela. Her life will be cele-brated on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at Pathfinder United Methodist Church, 8740 South Westnedge Avenue in Portage. Visitation is at 2pm and the service is at 3pm. Please join us for dessert and conversation after the service. In lieu of flowers, Ellie requested that donations be made to the church.