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Eleanor (Ellie) Lucille Willes, age 77, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on the evening, October 5, 2019, at her home in Grand Chute just two doors down from the farm where she was raised. She was born in Appleton on January 11, 1942, daughter of the late Lawrence and Lorraine (Kurey) Bender. Ellie lived an active life spending time outdoors, gardening, and walking. She also loved the Green Bay Packers, camping, and boating on Legend Lake. Ellie was an extremely hard-worker, having retired from Secura Insurance in 2007 with 32 years of service. She was also a faithful member of St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Appleton.
Survivors include her husband Wallace, three children: Lori (Walter) Malouf of New London; Chris (Ken) Kirchner of Freedom; Karina (Kami Young) Willes of Milwaukee. She took great pride in her five grandchildren: Beth Nass (Josh); Steven Pietrzyk; Travis Marten (special friend Ashle Brusky); Tyler (Mackenzie) Marten; Olivia Young; and six great-grandchildren. Ellie is further survived by three sisters: Evelyn Wolosek; Mary Bruch; and Shirley Fank, all of Appleton; a brother: John (Laura) Bender of Appleton; as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many good friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother Richard Bender, sister-in-law Shirley Bender-Gehrt, brother in-laws Chuck Wolosek, Ray Fank and David Bruch, and grandson Trevor Lee Marten.
The funeral liturgy for Ellie will be held at 11 AM on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at ST. THOMAS MORE CHURCH, 1810 N McDonald St, Appleton, with Fr. Jack Mullarkey officiating. Interment will be at Highland Memorial Park. Friends may come directly at the church on Wednesday afternoon from 9 AM until the time of the service at 11 AM.
Ellie was not someone who wore her heart on her sleeve, but following her diagnosis with Alzheimer’s she made certain to tell those around her that she loved them and she knew that they loved her. The family would like to give special thanks Ellie’s many care givers. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested that contributions be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association.