Ellen Joyce was born to George and Geraldine Williams on Sept. 5, 1947, in Butte, America. Her big heart decided to call it quits just short of her 72nd birthday. Ellen grew up in Walkerville, playing in the clay hills, riding her bike — known as her pink Ford — and having fun with her many cousins. Growing up in Walkerville meant Ellen was not to be messed with.
But that didn't mean she wasn't an absolute sweetheart. She never met a dog she didn't love and vice versa. Her smile was infectious; her kindness, beyond bounds.
She was a proud 1965 Butte High Bulldog graduate. Ellen met the love of her life during her junior year at Montana State University in Bozeman. She graduated MSU with a business degree in May 1969 and married Barry Lee on June 28, 1969. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year with a trip to Yellowstone National Park.
In the fall of 1971, Ellen left behind her beloved Montana mountains and moved to Richardton, North Dakota, with Barry. Barry taught industrial arts and Ellen taught PE and high school business.
In 1975, Ellen and Barry moved to their forever home in Roundup. They welcomed their only daughter Sonja into the world in December 1975. Ellen was the the best mom in the world. She also was a mom to many. She referred to the fourth chair at the dinner table as the company corner. It was filled more often than not.
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Ellen was also the utmost professional. She worked part time at the Roundup City Office until becoming full-time clerk and treasurer for the city. She kept the city's books in order until retiring in 2010 after the birth of her pride and joy, her grandson Roman Lee Nowakowski. She spent the next nine years doting on Roman, playing cars, memorizing the names of Marvel superheroes, and later preparing for his NBA stats quizzes.
Ellen was always a lady. It is quite possible she was never seen publicly without perfectly coiffed blonde hair and just the right touch of lipstick. Her clothes were immaculately pressed. Her house was spotless — even after being married to a mechanic for 50 years.
Ellen ran a tight ship. Dinner was always at 5:15 sharp, and it was always hot — really, really hot. Anything in the microwave got an extra minute ... or five. Her holiday cookie trays were legendary. She was a devoted Mason's and Shriner's wife.
Ellen leaves behind her loving husband, Barry; her daughter, Sonja (Peter) Nowakowski; and grandson, Roman. She also leaves behind her dear cousin Joyce (Dan) James in Michigan and countless other cousins and friends.
A remembrance for friends and family is planned at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Roundup Masonic Hall, 504 Main Street. Donations in Ellen's memory may be made to the Rimrock Humane Society in Roundup or to the Roundup Masonic Scholarship Fund.