Clida Cora Martinez Ellison
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Clida Cora Martinez Ellison, child advocate, social worker, and devoted wife and mother, passed away at the age of 82 on the morning of March 26, 2020. She leaves behind husband Dr. Leonard Ellison, Sr. and five sons, Dr. Leonard Ellison, Jr. (Francine), Rev. and Atty Brian Ellison (Sharon), Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (Monica), Attorneys Anthony Ellison and Eric Ellison. Clida, the bedrock of her family, was a dedicated member of Gesu Catholic Church of Detroit.

Clida hailed from Natchitoches, Louisiana. She was proud of her Creole roots and drew power from her Cane River ancestry, as she once explained to humorist and chef Mo Rocca on "My Grandmother's Ravioli". She was an outstanding cook who was especially well-known for her exceptional gumbo. Clida graduated from Xavier University of New Orleans in 1959, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in medical technology.

She raised five sons while working with her husband as the office manager of his medical practice. At age 57, after her husband Leonard suffered a debilitating stroke, she went back to school and earned her master's degree in social work. She then worked for 20 years in the juvenile division of Michigan's Third Circuit Court. She was still serving young people in the court system, weeks before she passed away.

Clida is survived by her husband, sons and their spouses, grandchildren Lauren, Erika, Tara, Tiffany, Tracy, Marcus, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Amirah, Alexandra, Dominique, TJ, Caleb, Luke, and Cora. Great grandchildren Josh, Nathan, Isla. Cousins Tina, Thad, Rita, David Marty, and many others, including Sister-in-law Thelma, niece Cheryl, nephew Eric and their daughter Sydni.

She was predeceased by grandson Manny and great-grandson Andrew, her parents Frank and Doris Balthazar Martinez, Grandmother Cora Balthazar, Cousin Carole, best friend Leslie Golightly, brother-in-law Robert, and many aunts, uncles, cousins as well as her ancestor and role model, Marie Theresa "Coincoin" Metoyer.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by James H. Cole Funerals, 2624 W. Grand Blvd. Detroit, Michigan 48208.

Clida's family and friends will plan a Celebration of Life & Resurrection Mass when the sun is shining and we can share hugs and stories about the beautiful woman we affectionately knew as Clida, Pet, Nana, Mrs. Ellison, and Mom.

In lieu of flowers send donations to The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), www.atsa.com. ATSA supports research into the development of programs for adolescent offenders.




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Published in Detroit Free Press & The Detroit News from Mar. 28 to Mar. 29, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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39 entries
June 8, 2020
To the Ellison Family
My deepest sympathy to you all for the loss of your Mother.
Paula Dusza
Friend
June 6, 2020
I met Clida Ellison when she was a social work student at the Clinic where she remained 20 years. As her field instructor I knew she was passionate and eager to help a child. I left and Clida never wavered in serving children. May she Rest in Heavenly peace.
Delores Guye
June 4, 2020
I did not know Mrs. Ellison but had the pleasure of seeing her on the My Grandmother's Ravioli several years ago. I thought she was the most charming of the "grandmothers" and was so impressed with her love of husband, family and her strength. I still remember some of her comments.

Marie Bonifield
Neighbor
June 3, 2020
My deepest sympathy and prayers to the family.Your grandmother Mrs Cora use to always make sandwiches when my brother and my dad would visit her and Mr Boo. Beautiful memories. My love to you all.
Catherine Balthazar Deal
Family
May 21, 2020
Dear Keith and family we are deeply saddened by the loss of your mother Clida Martinez Ellison. We are actually Clidas first cousins in KC Missouri and our parents are the late John Paul and Hazel Martinez (in picture) our dad John Paul Martinez and Clidas dad Frank Marrinez are brothers. Wished wed had the opportunity to meet your mom but from all Ive heard and read she was certainly an extra ordinary and wonderful person loved many people., truly the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31:10-31. Please know you and your family are continually in our prayers., hopefully we can meet you and your family soon.,
Much love,
Sharon Martinez and Luther Brown and your entire KC Missouri Martinez family
816-686-8758
Sharon Martinez Brown
Family
May 21, 2020
Sharon Martinez Brown
Family
April 22, 2020
Mrs Ellison,She was My favorite Guest on My Grandmas Ravioli. I have tried all of the recipes that she made on her episode,She was a Joy to watch!Our condolences to the Family.C.Henry,Fl.
Carol Henry
April 22, 2020
I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure she was a wonderful person, and I'm sure she lived a long happy life with you all.
K Johnson
April 18, 2020
To the Ellison family,
I had the honor, privilege and pleasure to work with your mother at the juvenile psychiatric clinic for 13 years. During that time she was supportive and made my employment a pleasant growth experience. I am certain she will be missed by many. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Emanuel Vanbolden, Psychologist
April 18, 2020
I am thankful for the opportunity to have known Clida. May she rest in the eternal peace of our gracious and loving God. Amen. B. Prince
Benjamin
Friend
April 17, 2020
Hello Keith,
My heartfelt sympathy to you and your family on the death of your mother Clida Cora Martinez Ellison ( what a wonderful name too). While I never met, she was obviously an advocate for those in tough circumstances in her professional role and was clearly a woman of strength. I read her obituary with great interest too regarding her origins from Louisiana. I am familiar with the rich creole culture there from the time I spent there training in forensic psychiatry. I am truly sorry for your loss.
Maureen Hackett
April 15, 2020
Dear Keith and family,

I am saddened by your loss. My thoughts are for you and your continued strength during this time.
Joe McLean
April 15, 2020
Mr. Keith Ellison & family,

I want to express my most sincere sympathy to you and your family for the loss of your precious mother Clida. I can only imagine the sorrow you are feeling. Please know that your Minnesota friends are with you in our hearts. Rest in peace in the arms of our God, dear Clida.
Barbara Knotz
April 5, 2020
Dear Keith,

Please accept our condolences. (Correction for previous post, a Ferrari not Porsche.)

-Ellen Swilley
Ellen Swilley
April 5, 2020
Correction to Dear Keith,

Again please accept our condolences. And I meant Ferrari not Porsche.
Ellen Swilley
April 5, 2020
Dear Keith,
We were very sorry to hear about your mother (our mother just passed in October). You may remember us for the marina (3 yachts over "The Esther Ellen IV in early 70"s with the tan Rolls Royce). I hope you, your brothers, father (Mr. Porsche) and family are able to find comfort in this most difficult time.

Sincerely, Ellen Swilley
April 1, 2020
Very very sorry to learn that we have lost one of our finest Cane River cousins. You all will always be our family, and we get better acquainted with, and see you all on the Cane, sometime soon.
Love,
Mark A. Delphin
Lake Charles, La
Mark Delphin
March 31, 2020
It is with a heavy heart that I share sentiment regarding the passing of Mrs. Clida Ellison. For me, Mrs. Ellison was like a second mother -- as she was the mother of my dear friend, Brian. However, it is also because she was one of our community matriarchs, supporting us as we came of age -- greeting and cooking for us as we congregated in her home joking with us meeting and providing approval for our future spouses and sharing words of wisdom throughout lives.

Her passing is difficult for me to conceive of, particularly during this challenging time. That said I recognize that there are some people who bring such love into this world that even as they have passed-on, our recognition of that love remains and sustains us. Chlida is one of these individuals. My family and I are consoled by the fact that Heaven has an added angel to continue to watch over her own family, as well as her extended family and friends.

Ellisons We love you. God bless you during this time of her transition. You and yours are in our family's thoughts and prayers, now and forever.

With love,
Curtis and Sharon Parham and family.
Curtis Parham
March 31, 2020
With great sorry, I received the notice of the passing of Clida Cora. I am a cousin, Theta Martinez Williams in Baton Rouge, LA. My father , Frank Paul Martinez, born in New Orleans, was Clida's father's 1st cousin. I recall when her father was killed from the tractor accident. I was a little girl and my parents drove to Natchitoches for the funeral. I didn't know her very well, I knew a lot about her: from my father, my Brother, Myrnard ,who attended Xavier with her and from family reunions. Let us keep in touch and learn more about our Martinez Family.
Be consoled, be blessed, and pray we survive this pandemic ,in Jesus's name,we pray!
Theta Martinez Williams
225 810-2772
owilliams10@cox.net
Theta Williams
March 31, 2020
I am saddened to learn of Clidas passing. Prayers are being sent up for your familys strength to face this devastating loss. Love and condolences from my family to yours.
Reba Tolbert
Friend
March 30, 2020
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
RoderickT. McIver
Friend
March 30, 2020
My deepest condolences for the lost of an extra-ordinarily renaissance women. My mother, Yvonne Martinez Avery Battle, was Clida's 1st cousin. Continued blessings and faith. Love, Anita.
Anita Battle
Family
March 30, 2020
I was sorry to hear about her passing. We worked together at the Clinic for Child study. She went above and beyond for her kids. My condolences to her family and friends.
Lynda Lopez
Coworker
March 30, 2020
I didn't know Clida well. I was only fortunate to be around her maybe a dozen times. Each time I saw her she was warm, kind, caring, honest and direct. I am fortunate to call one of her sons one of my mentors. I have worked with two of her grandsons. You can judge a lot by the type of people they raise, the passion the instill in their children and grandchildren. You can tell how important family, community and doing the right thing was for Clida. Our world is significantly better having her and her actions in it and we will continue to be impacted daily by the legacy she left. She will be missed, but honored in memory.
Will Hailer
March 29, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always. Rest peacefully Clida Clida
Shawntrice Carter
Coworker
March 29, 2020
I have known Clida since I was very young as our families go way back. I really got to know her when we worked at the Clinic for Child Study. She was dedicated to changing the lives of each family she came in contact with. She will be missed. May God comfort you in your time of sorrow.
Kai Anderson
Coworker
March 29, 2020
I will so miss sitting next to you at mass at Gesu and occasionally being a trifle naughty as we shared "observations." Thank you for your friendship to Angela and me over the decades.
Ruth Fichter
March 29, 2020
Clida and Ami on her last day at the Clinic
Clida was there when I started working at the Clinic for Child Study (juvenile court psychiatric clinic) 15 years ago. She had recently transferred to a different department so we said our temporary farewells to each other in early January. That's when this picture was taken. We were both therapists for troubled teens and Clida took on the most difficult cases, those children with the most needs and who experienced extraordinary trauma. She was passionate about her work and very dedicated to making children's voices heard and respected. Her jovial personality kept us therapists smiling all the time. I will have memories of her witty sense of humor, her helpful spirit, and her devotion to youth with mental health challenges. Clida served our community well. May her soul rest in peace.
Dr. Amorie (Ami) Robinson, Psychologist
March 29, 2020
Keith, I'm so sorry to learn of your mother's passing. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet her, however briefly, at the Cane River screening at the Walker. Such a warm woman. I extend my sympathy to you and your entire family. An enormous loss. ~Ann Berget
Ann Berget
Acquaintance
March 29, 2020
She came into my life when I was 3 and became a dear friend. I would go to visit her apartment in the University Terrace apartments and hang out while she told me stories. I remember eating pineapple upside down cake which she baked in a skillet with her. I will remember her smile and voice fondly.
Linda G
March 29, 2020
Mrs. Ellison, was a mother to everyone she came in contact with. For the times I have met her I can say I was blessed with the kindness and wisdom she shared. Mother Ellison R.I.P.
Deacon Glady
Friend
March 29, 2020
I am saddened by her passing. She touched my heart in so many ways. I shall truly miss her.
Frank McGhee
Friend
March 29, 2020
It's hard to understand why people are taken
us, but find comfort in knowing you were a special
part of a well- lived life.
Severine Jeanpiere
March 29, 2020
Severine Jeanpiere
March 28, 2020
The Michigan Progressive Baptist Convention prays for your comfort through God and may His blessings continue in taking care of your needs.
Dr. Andrea
Acquaintance
March 28, 2020
Mrs. Ellison will always be remembered by me as a very kind, warm and loving neighbor and friend to my family. Her friendship with my parents and continual support of our family throughout many years of our families lives is something exceptional and rare nowadays, something to be revered. RIH Mrs. Ellison and Clida
Candace Crenshaw
Friend
March 28, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Family
March 28, 2020
My thoughts and prayers are with the Ellison family.
Charmaine Wahlstrom
Neighbor
March 28, 2020
I didn't know her but she raised a fine son, Keith, and a wonderful grandson, Jeremish.
Barbara Pinckney
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