Velma Ellis

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 19, 2010

Velma Patterson Ellis, 98, died on Mon., Feb. 8, 2010. She was born March 2, 1911, in Verbena, Ala., the daughter of Thomas Franklin and Anna Blackburn Patterson.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Warren; six brothers; Byron, Jesse, Charlie, Franklin, Horace and Dewey; and one sister, Mary Ella Patterson.
She is survived by a son, Warren Franklin Ellis and his wife, Carol, of Naples, Fla.; a daughter, Frances, and her husband Edwin Paul Schwemmer of Huntsville; grandsons, Andrew Shelby Ellis of Bradenton, Fla., and Robert Barry Ellis and his wife, Abbie Kathryn; a great-grandson, Robert Beck Ellis, of Panama City Beach, Fla. She is also survived by a half-sister, Lemerle Osgood of Montgomery; and many nieces and nephews.
She graduated from Verbena High School at 15 as salutatorian. It was her dream to go to college, and this was made possible because the dean of the School of Home Economics found several jobs for her. Earning her way became necessary after the death of her mother during her freshman year. She graduated from Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University, with a degree in home economics in 1934. In addition to working her way through college, she found time to be involved in other school activities, including being the first woman to serve on the school’s Student Government Council, and she was a forward on the women’s basketball team.
Her teaching career began in Vincent, Ala., and then she moved to Elba to teach vocational adult education. After her marriage to Warren Ellis, she taught home economics at Kinston and then at Opp High School until she retired in 1974. Her lengthy tenure at Opp High included having many second-generation students who were a source of pride in her retirement years.
She moved to Huntsville, Alabama in 2000 into an assisted living facility and later into a nursing home because of health issues.
Warren and Velma Ellis lived in Opp for most of their married life, and they were members of the First Baptist Church where she served in many capacities.
She loved her flowers and enjoyed growing many varieties of day lilies. She also was a wonderful cook and enjoyed working in the yard and garden. She was a member and past-president of the Three Arts Club and the garden club. During her active years of teaching, she served as an advisor for the hospital and the nursing home as a dietician and tested and edited new recipes for a food supplier.
A service was held at Wyatt Funeral Home in Opp on Sat., Feb. 13, 2010, at 2 p.m. The family was present to receive friends and relatives an hour before her service and remained after the service for visiting. Burial was in Peaceful Acres Cemetery in Opp. The family requests that memorials be made to the First Baptist Church of Opp. P. O. Box 963, Opp, AL 36467.