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Ellen Ann Fletcher

December 13, 2016

There is no great beauty in the world.  There is no more kindness, no more pure love in the world today.  Because when she left, she took it with her.

When Ellen Ann Fletcher was born to Lois and James Armitage on May 19, 1955, God poured onto this earth all the charity, hope, beauty and joy a God can produce.  Her great loves and boundless talents at a young age were singing and theater.  For her, though the highest form of art was not performances, but creation.  On November 6, 1976, she fell for a man’s smooth dancing, and married Frederick Wesley Fletcher.  Their union of 40 years would shape the lives of their 8 children, 28 grandchildren, two dumb dogs, about 20 chickens, two peacocks who thought they were turkeys, and every person whose life she glided through and brightened.

Five years ago, Ellen was diagnosed with Amyloidosis, and for five short, too short years, she fought that disease longer and stronger than was thought possible.  This glamorous, strong, and stubborn Irish and Scottish woman from Detroit, Michigan would not bend or even quiver at the tortures in her blood, or anything Hell or Earth could pelt her with, but instead would look at you and say, “You poor boy.  You poor girl.  Poor you, who has to see me like this.”  Her eyes shining not with pain or suffering, but of the deepest affection.

On December 13, 2016, after every devil in every world could do nothing more to hurt her, God Himself came down from Heaven and told her it was time.  And she told Him “No”. Not until every one of her children and her loving husband were around her bed, not until the priest was there to fill her ears with the words of her faith, would she allow God to take her.

At 12:15 AM. on December 13, 2016 her suffering was ended in quiet and peace, and ours increased with, cries and tears that will never dry.

She is survived by those who will struggle to find that brightness of light again, Her husband Fred, of the home; her children, Christine, Bernadette, Margaret, Theresa, Mary, David, Andrew and Ian; two step-children Anne and Fred; two sisters, Patricia and Joan; 28 grandchildren, and by those that preceded her in death, her parents and two sisters, Nora and Diane.

A Requiem Mass will be at 7:00 A.M. Friday, December 16, 2016 at Assumption Chapel in St. Marys.  Mrs. Fletcher will lie in state from 1:00 P.M. until 4:30 P.M. Thursday, December 15, 2016 at Piper Funeral Home in St. Marys.  A rosary will be recited at 5:20 P.M. Thursday at the church.  Interment will be in Our Lady of Peace cemetery, St. Marys.  Memorial contributions may be made for masses and sent in care of the funeral home.

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13 thoughts on “Ellen Ann Fletcher

  1. We are so sorry for your loss. Ellen gave us a beautiful picture of St. Catherine of Sienna when you lived here in Michigan. She was always so kind and thoughtful! We will be praying for the repose of her soul and for your family.
    God Bless,
    The Tamm Family

  2. Ellen’s House: where we would go for lunch (cuz she invited us, and wanted us there). Where successful and fun (well, perhaps not always successful in SOME ways 🙂 parties were held, because it was pretty much guaranteed fun. Ellen – a genuine, open-heart for all of us childhood friends. MY genuine condolences to you her huge cadre of family and friends. The planet is not the same.

  3. Dear Fletcher and Armitage families.
    I am so very very sorry to hear of sweet Ellen’s passing. My memories of our years together have filled me with joy over so many years.
    All the way back to the Drama group at Denby High and her fabulous portrayal of Lucy VanPelt in “Charlie Brown.” Every time, especially now at Christmas, when I hear the Charlie Brown album and Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” I can still see Ellie sprawled across Schroeder’s “piano” and singing her song of betrothal. Then breaking into “big time” with Harper Woods Community Theater and the “Tender Trap” and the beginning of the Fred Fletcher era!! I admired Ellen in everything she did and everything she was. Her joy and talent and goodness shone whatever she did or wherever she was.
    Ellen taught me so much and she and her great Mom and sisters gave me more than I can ever recount. Coming from a house with 6 brothers, theirs was an “estrogen haven” for me. And oh how wonderful all of those Scottish women could celebrate Christmas!!! I’ve never been part of nights like those before or since! I think it took a year or two to get me to eat the Christmas pudding, but it was worth the wait! I never did get the taste for the Alaskan King Crab Diane shipped home for the Holidays, crazy I know.
    I remember countless days with Ellen after school flopped on the sofa in the living room, eating reams of Saltine crackers and listening and dancing to Carole King and Earth Wind and Fire and James Taylor and Joanie Mitchell. Ellen would listen to the music and the words and light up and get excited and tell me about it! She taught me to really listen and see the wonder of music and song!
    I remember she showed me the wonders of tuna salad with mayonnaise!! (I came from a Miracle Whip house!) She taught me how to take a can of potato soup and doctor it up to something downright delectable. I remember so well the day we walked up in the attic and suddenly envisioned her very cool new bedroom and how much fun we had putting it all together.
    Ellen and her Mom and Pat carried me through a lot of years. Patsy gave me the honor of hiring me to clean her house. Truly, I was honored and enjoyed it immensely and found the opportunity to see what I was capable of. It also was a lot easier to clean while listening to Pat’s Barbara Streisand albums!
    Lois helped me get my first job while I was in nursing school at North Detroit General Hospital where she worked in the lab. It was just about 9 years ago that my husband Jim and I had to retire the brown basement refrigerator that Lois had given to us after we first got married. What a gem she was!
    Speaking of Lois, I remember that Ellen took me (actually MADE ME) drive her Mom’s giant boat of a car through our neighborhoods so I’d be ready for drivers training. But the real test was making me take over North of Toronto on the highway headed to Penetanguishene because she thought it would be good for me. I was terrified but she said, “Just look far ahead of you down the road, don’t look at the curve right in front of you.” ( I bet all of her kids are chuckling right now cuz I’m sure she said that to each of you too!) Those word of Ellie-wisdom surely got us to the Cottage safely, but I can not tell you how many times those words helped me get through countless rough “curves” in my life. Even to this day, I think of Ellen every time I’m driving a curve and feel that centrifugal tug in my tummy.
    One of my fondest and funniest memories with Ellen was the day we went out of the house to go somewhere in the car, which was parked at the end of the driveway, only to find a flat tire on the passenger rear. Being the “Helen Reddy” 70’s women that we were, we figured we could handle this. We got out the tire and the jack and figured out which end of it to use and stuck it under the bumper and were exceedingly impressed with ourselves as the car started hopping up and up. But somehow, almost imperceptibly at first, the car began to creep down as it started to roll down the apron of the driveway! There may have been directions on how to do this somewhere but we hadn’t read them and nowhere did we see anything that indicated you had to chock the wheels with something first, especially on an incline. We didn’t know whether to cry or laugh, but laughter and adrenaline took over as the two of us raced around to the back of the car and threw our collective 200 pounds into holding back what felt like the waters of the Red Sea! We somehow managed to stop the rearward motion until Ellie could get into the driver’s seat and put on the emergency brake. Getting to this point in the event was so terribly exciting to us that I honestly can not tell you how the tire actually got changed. But I can tell you Lois was not impressed when she got home from work!
    And those summers at the Cottage on Georgian Bay were indescribably wonderful! I remember that the first thing everybody did once the gear was hauled up from the dock was to turn on some great music, get to the screen porch and put your feet up on the sill and sip on a Labatts. I remember watching Ellen jump off of the Rock and thinking I could never do it until I saw her shining face come up out of that water and cajole me down. I probably jumped a hundred times after that! What fun, taking the little boat to sunbathe on the hot rocks at Aunt Edna’s Island. We took fresh lemons to squeeze in our dark hair in hopes of getting those blonde highlights. I;m surprised we didn’t slide down the rocks with all the baby oil we’d slathered on! And every time I hear Seals and Croft “Summer Breeze” I remember the night parties at somebodies cottage across the water.
    Ever precious to me, was coming home with Ellen in the boat late at night over the dark still water, and she would cut the motor and let us drift while she showed me the sky. It brings a squeeze to my chest just now and tears to my eyes as I remember the wonder of that moment, wrapped in utter warmth and darkness and seeing the glory of the stars all the way from one horizon to another!! Never have I experienced that since. Even more wondrous and treasured to me was the night Ellen took me out to see the Aurora Borealis. I was absolutely stunned! These summer nights I will stand on the beach of Saginaw Bay out by our little mobile home park and still feel the wonder of that moment with Ellen on Georgian Bay, and I await with longing to perhaps see it again.
    Forty years ago this Sunday, December 18, 1976, Ellen was my Maid of Honor, Matron of Honor actually, as I was at her side the month before when she married Fred. Even though our lives took different roads, I loved the few times we got together over the years and remembered and laughed and cried a bit too. I named our daughter Rachel Ellen after her.
    I loved that we were able to connect on FB and so enjoyed looking at the pictures of her wonderful HUGE enormous family that she so obviously cherished in every way. It doesn’t surprise me one bit to see the HUGE ENORMITY of life that Ellen has carved out. She was truly a one-and-only person! In truth, I have never had another friend since Ellen, and I don’t just mean another friend “like” Ellen, I truly mean, no one has ever seemed close to fill the space in me that she did.
    I grieve with you all and pray that the Lord Jesus would truly draw you ever close to His precious Heart of peace and comfort and hope. I hope these memories from “days before” the Ellen you know only help to enlarge and anchor and ensure you that the roots that anchored Ellen in wonderfulness go back a long way and very deep.
    I don’t believe I can post pictures here but I put a few on my FB page of Ellen in our wedding and I tagged her so perhaps you’ll be able to see her as I knew and loved her so well.

  4. I am sorry to read about the passing of your beloved Ellen. May the comforting promises from God ease your pain during this difficult time. Isaiah 25:8 says “He will swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from all faces.”

  5. Fred and family,
    I have such fond memories of my dad’s (Paul) cousin and all her family from visits to the cottage in Canada. She struck me as a woman filled with energy and endless love. More than enough love for her big family, but to make me feel so welcomed, too.
    Thanking of you all at this time of great sorrow. My condolences.
    Heather McDonald

  6. Our thoughts and prayers for Ellen and all of your family. So sorry for your loss. She and you all have always been special friends of our family. God bless you all, and may she Rest In Peace.
    Sean and Kathryn Hetrick
    Mary Tschirhart

  7. Fred and Family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with each and everyone one of you’s. Yes the tribute from Andrew was most beautiful, it was her! Ellen was a wonderful person who always had a good laugh for you! Sending our love to the whole familiy.

  8. We only had the good pleasure of meeting Ellen a few times, but we could immediately see what a kind and gracious person she was. We send all our love and prayers to Fred, Christine, and the whole family.
    May she rest in peace.

  9. Fred and family praying for all of you during this difficult time. Ellen was definitely one special lady she will be missed! The tribute from Andrew says it all. Love to each and every one of you.

  10. What a beautiful tribute. She was a wonderful person and will be missed terribly. She was always gracious and kind. We send our love to the family.

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