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Mary Ellanson


1921 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Mary Ellanson Obituary
Mary Ellanson

Springfield - Mary Louise Finley Ellanson, Springfield, Missouri, met her Lord on Monday , March 18, 2019, at age 97. She was born in Fairfax, Missouri on October 23, 1921 to Joseph Albert Finley and Edith Cowan Finley.

Her parents were both well educated, so it was inevitable that Mary would pursue advanced education. Following her graduation from Lockwood (MO) High School in 1939, she enrolled at Southwest Missouri State College where she earned a B.S. Degree in Education in 1943. She added a Masters Degree in Retailing from New York University to her credentials in 1944.

After receiving her graduate degree, Mary spent a short time working for retail businesses in Springfield and St. Louis, but decided to follow her passion and began a teaching career at Blue Island (IL) High School where she taught a variety of business subjects. Mary later moved to Oak Lawn Community High School in suburban Chicago and within a few years became the school's Chairman of Business Education, a position she held for more than thirty-five years until she retired.

While on summer break during her first few years of teaching, she worked as a bookkeeper at a summer resort in Wisconsin. One day Mary was surprised to see Dell Ellanson, a business machines sales representative who regularly called on her at school, vacationing at the resort where she was working. Soon afterwards they started dating and eventually married on August 20, 1959 in Nisswa, MN. With both of their careers connected to education, they were able to spend most summers travelling all across the nation. Dell passed away in December 1980.

When Mary retired from teaching, she returned to Lockwood and moved in with her mother to provide twenty -four -hour, in-home loving care for many years. She relocated to Springfield at the same time her mother entered the Mercy Villa Retirement Home due to declining health. To stay involved with her mother's care, Mary became a dedicated volunteer at Mercy Villa until her mother's death in 1997. In 2012 Mary moved to the Waterford Independent Living, and thoroughly enjoyed the lifestyle, social engagement, and group outings to the Springfield Symphony. She most recently lived in Castlewood Assisted Living in Nixa, MO.

Mary always enjoyed spending time with her nieces and nephews and their families. She was a devoted, generous and loving aunt who had a profound impact on all of their lives. Mary was blessed with a strong personality, had a witty sense of humor, and loved to laugh. In addition to her academic and career achievements, she loved to read, cook, and travel.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Dell Ellanson, her parents and three brothers, Wayne Finley, and his wife Irene, George Finley and his wife, Virginia and Ross Finley. She is survived by one sister-in-law, Eleanor Finley (Spokane, WA) and nine nieces and nephews: Cynthia Finley Orr and husband Robert (Knoxville, TN), Sherry Finley and husband, Rand Henslee (Springfield), George S. Finley and wife Cynthia (Plano, TX), Richard Finley and wife Sharon (Humble, TX), Robert Finley (Kingwood, TX), Steven Finley and wife Theresa (Post Falls, ID), Christina Finley Jones (Renton, WA), Dorothy Finley Nakamura and husband Scott (Sammamish, WA), James Finley and wife Jodi (Spokane, WA). She is also survived by 16 great nieces and nephews and 13 great-great nieces and nephews.

A memorial service to celebrate her long and wonderful life will be held at a later date.
Published in the News-Leader on Mar. 24, 2019
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