ELDON "ELLIE" INA RUTH BAKER VEGELER, 92, of Gig Harbor, Wash., died on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2014, near her daughter's home after a courageous battle against lung cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2010. Born March 30, 1921, in Fort Wayne, she was a daughter of Owen Kemp Baker and Daisy Campbell Cultice Baker. She grew up in a large musical family during the height of the Great Depression. The family attended Fort Wayne's Trinity Episcopal Church where Ellie developed a large circle of lifelong friends. Ellie was a student at Central High School and made many friends there, as well. Activities in high school included playing in a number of bands and orchestras which performed in the Fort Wayne area. She graduated from high school in 1939. On her 19th birthday in 1940, Ellie married Robert H. Vegeler, also from Fort Wayne. They had two children, Robert Owen Vegeler and Becky L. Vegeler. Her husband was a career-long employee of the Allen County Public Library, retiring in 1980 as Director Emeritus. He passed in 2004. Ellie was a high-energy person with many abilities and interests. Her work history included employment at the Fort Wayne Public Library during high school; during World War II she worked at Fruehauf Trailer Company in the records department and as an expediter, often with the German prisoners of war stationed there. While her children were in school at Frances Slocum Elementary, Ellie worked as school secretary there, keeping the same schedule as Robert and Becky. She worked in finance and bookkeeping at Livingston, Dildine, Haynie, & Yoder Attorneys; and she was office manager at Huser-Paul Merchant Wholesalers, retiring in 1988. During this time, Ellie also taught flute and piano out of her home. Education was very important to Ellie. Somehow, while working, volunteering, and caring for her family, she found the time to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education in 1974 at age 53! Her many other activities included five years as assistant first flutist in the Fort Wayne Civic Symphony. She was a member of the Fort Wayne Women's Philharmonic Committee, the Fort Wayne and Allen County Historical Society, and the Fortnightly Club. She served as a flute contest judge for the Northern Indiana School Band, Orchestra, and Vocal Association (NISBOVA) and was a life member of the Indiana University Alumni Association. Ellie dedicated the majority of her time and efforts to her beloved Trinity Episcopal Church, serving over the years in the church choir, altar guild, St. Monica's Guild, and as a Sunday school teacher. She also served her church by helping as needed with the numerous dinners, meetings, and special events held there. She loved literature, music, drama, golf, antique collecting, and travel. She always felt fortunate that, in addition to traveling wide expanses of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, she was able to travel to Europe several times and also enjoyed a cruise through the Panama Canal. In 2005, after 35 years of living across the country from each other, Ellie left Fort Wayne for the greater Seattle, Wash. area to be near her daughter. It gave them a chance to get reacquainted and spend some quality time together. She passed peacefully this past Jan. 23, 2014, at her home at Estate Living Kensington Gardens, a senior facility in Gig Harbor near where her daughter lives. Survivors include daughter, Becky V. (Eric) Nutt; son, Robert Owen (Maggie) Vegeler; three Vegeler grandsons, Sean R. (Michele), Reid C. (Mary), and Troy P. (Jazzmin); six great-grandchildren; and sister, Elenore Baker Simpson. She was also preceded in death by her mother and father; and five of her six siblings. A memorial service and reception are planned for late June or July at Trinity Episcopal Church and all are welcome; a notice will be published when the date is set. Burial will be in the Trinity churchyard next to her husband. If you wish, memorials may be made to the Trinity Episcopal Church Music Fund or to a charity of donor's choice.

Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Mar. 2, 2014