Ellen Louise Schirmer, 80, died July 11 after a long illness.

Ellen was born in Burns on Nov. 2, 1931, to Henry and Julia Geer. Ellen was the older sister to her two brothers.

She graduated from Eastern Oregon College in 1951 and married Dan Crump shortly thereafter. Her only child, Julie Ann, was born in 1957 and was the joy of her life.

Ellen was very active in Eastern Star during her life and was a past Worthy Matron. Ellen and Dan divorced in 1966.

She married Bill Schirmer in 1967 and then moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Ellen worked in the Kootenai County Courthouse as chief deputy clerk of the court until 1975, when Bill retired.

Ellen and Bill then embarked on the biggest journey of their lives by packing up everything and moving to Wrangell, Alaska, where they opened Schirmer’s Jewelry and built their dream home on the ocean. Ellen also worked for General Telephone of Alaska during their 15 years in Wrangell.

In 1990, Ellen and Bill left Wrangell and bought a winter home in Green Valley, Ariz., and a “Summer” fifth-wheel in which they lived while hosting in many of the Washington State Parks. During this time, they made many friends and enjoyed their retirement years.

In 2006, Ellen and Bill moved into an apartment they designed in daughter Julie’s home where they both lived until their deaths.

During her golden years, Ellen attended many Gonzaga basketball games with her daughter, Julie, where she enthusiastically cheered on her beloved Zags. Ellen also became a very accomplished writer and participated in a writing class for many years. Her writings and stories were a special pleasure to her family and friends. Ellen had a great talent for bringing memories of her experiences to life in such an exciting and humorous way, that you felt you were there with her. Many friendships developed due to Ellen’s zest and enthusiasm, her sense of humor, her active imagination and her sincere compassion for others.

Ellen was preceded in death by her husband, Bill, in 2008.

She is survived by her daughter, Julie; brother, Thad Geer, and his wife, Joyce, of Burns; brother, Don Geer, and his wife, Helene, of Mitchell; numerous nieces and nephews; and cats, Callie and Charlie.

A celebration of Ellen’s life will be held Saturday, July 28, at 11 a.m. at Heritage Funeral Home. Ellen will be laid to rest with Bill at the Eastern Washington Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake, Wash. In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations be made to SCRAPS Animal Shelter, 2521 N. Flora Road, Spokane, WA 99216.

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