Ellen Rose Martin passed away of complications from chronic myeloid leukemia in her home in Vancouver, Wash., March 30, 2013. She is the beloved wife of Merle Newcomb, who survives.
Ellen was the mother of seven children and a pastor's wife for 53 years. She was born May 26, 1930 in Fox, Okla., to William Henry Harrison Morris and Lora Etta Bellah Morris. Ellen was the youngest of six children, Zelpha Atchley, Walton Morris, Leota Calhoun, Edna Sims Brown and JD Morris. They were migrant farm workers, picking cotton in Oklahoma and oranges, apples and peaches in California and working in the apricot yards, preparing fruit to dry in the sun. Her father saved enough money to buy property in George West, Texas where they grew and sold watermelon. At one time they had 40 milking cows, including a stubborn bovine who would only let Ellen milk her while wearing her Dad's overalls.
At age 17, while working as a waitress at a cafe in George West, Ellen spilled a pitcher of water on handsome young soldier. A few days later she saw the same WWII veteran in her living room talking with her Dad about renting a room. Gerald and Ellen married Oct. 25, 1947, in Beeville Texas. Ellen was a church pianist and wrote worship songs. She taught her daughters to sing and play piano and they all sang and played in church. She discipled her children, teaching them to love God's Word.
Ellen has seven children, Robert Martin (Melissa), of LaGrande, Ore., Kathleen Martin, of LaGrande, Barbara McLean (Bob), of Weston, Ore., Virginia Clement (Caleb), of Vancouver, Wash., Janell Gregory (Gary), of Emmett, Idaho, Melissa Stiles (Greg), of Medford, and Ross Martin (Wendy) of Marysville, Wash.
She has 18 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren: Steven and Elli Martin (Lindsey Shaye), Michelle Martin, Rob Martin (Sam, Rhys) and Michael Martin; Ryan Nations (Isaak); Rachelle Roggiero (Whitney, Sean, Sebastian, Charlie), Erin and Kris Dalrymple (Michael, Kristopher, Kamryn, Konnor), Sean and Robin Roggiero (Jade, Kaylee); Dawn Clement and Brett Hodge (Noah, Elvin), Barak and Sonja Clement, Marilee Clement, Graham Clement, Jim and Misty Schwandt (Tristin), Jake and Sherri Schwandt (Kailen, Chance), Josh Schwandt (Traedon, Bodi, Emma), Chas and Whitney Gregory (Kloey, Kadence), Martin Stiles, and Sophie Stiles.
She lived a short while in Phoenix before moving to Winston. Later, she moved to Vancouver, where she met Merle Bud Newcomb, whom she married June 21, 2006, in LaGrande. They were members of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Vancouver. Her outgoing otter personality lit up the game room at Vintage Apartments. They enjoyed playing Bunco, bingo, Pinochle, organizing potlucks and watching Seattle Mariners games.
Ellen enjoyed riding her bicycle without gears around the hilly streets of Boise and hiking in Southern Oregon. She took road trips to Fort Davis, San Antonio and Wichita Falls, Texas; Arches, Canyon Lands and Grand Canyon National Parks; Banff, British Columbia; and Baltimore. She flew to Hawaii twice and loved every minute of it. She took an Alaskan cruise featuring one of her favorite authors, R.C. Sproul. She enjoyed reading out loud with her daughters C.H. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening and A.W. Pink's Attributes of God. She possessed the hope of Heaven because Jesus Christ was her righteousness. She reminded herself on her deathbed the promise of Jesus in John 13:1, Having loved his own, He loved them to the end.
Ellen was preceded in death by her parents, siblings, and infant granddaughter, Lora Jane Stiles.
A public graveside service will be held at 11a.m., Fri., April 5, 2013, at Granite Hill Cemetery in Grants Pass. Contributions may be sent to Cascade Christian High School, 855 Chevy Way, Medford, OR 97504.