With a sad heart, we announce that our beloved mother and your teacher, friend, and community member, Dianne Gill Ellingson, passed away on May 9, 2023. She was with the love of her life when she began her Celestial Journey. She was born on January 4, 1945, in Sioux City, IA, to William Jennings Gill and Merle Isabelle Sater Gill.
Dianne was the youngest of four children, but because her three siblings were 22 years older than she, her "sisters" were her three nieces, Sandra, Nancy, & Sharon. They would be her closest friends growing up.
She graduated from Augustana University, SD, in the spring of 1967 with a BA in English. Soon after, she moved to Colorado Springs with four girlfriends to start her teaching career. This would be where she met her future husband.
Rob was completing his MSBA at Colorado State University, having just returned from a year in Korea, serving as a First Lieutenant with the US Army Combat Engineers. In that Sherwood Apartment complex is where Rob courted and eventually proposed to Dianne. In doing so, he asked her to leave her mid-western life behind and move to a small town in Northeast Oregon. Little did she know she would fall in love with that small town and work to leave an indelible mark on that community.
She and Rob were married at the Morningside Lutheran Church in Sioux City, IA, on August 14, 1971. This was the church where she attended as a little girl with her family.
While adjusting to her new home with Rob and their three boys, she saw an ad promoting tryouts for tee ball at Wade Williams Field. With her oldest son just at the qualifying age, she decided to sign him up. She would have had no way of knowing, but at that moment, she committed herself to a life of rickety wood bleachers at ballfields across Oregon and beyond, cheering for her three boys and their friends. And even after her boys stopped playing, she kept going to those fields, always as a fan. She was an ardent supporter of her Baker City teams.
One of her greatest joys was spending time with her five grandsons. Whether it was watching them compete in various sports or playing various card games with them, or talking to them on the phone, it was always the highlight of her day. She always looked forward to phone calls or FaceTime conversations with them.
While being a baseball mom may have been an accident, being a teacher was an endless passion. For 40 years, she taught in the Baker school system across all upper-grade levels, including Blue Mountain Community College. Regardless of the level she taught, the discipline was always English. From spelling tests to World War II literature to creative writing, there wasn't an English topic she avoided and she also may have also thrown in some life skills. She would proudly say that "my doctor and my accountant were both students of mine." And if you had our mom as a teacher, be assured she loved you dearly. She always spoke fondly of her days in the classroom.
A natural extension of her work was serving on the Leo Adler Foundation. She took great pride in her role and was energized by the support it provided her beloved community through scholarships and grants. It was the perfect extension of her life as a teacher, as she could continue to help the community she held so close.
She was also an active member of PEO, Chapter AX and an unfailing supporter of education and scholarships for over 50 years.
Mom was a devout and faithful member of the First Lutheran Church. She taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir, was Altar Guild Chair in Lydia Circle, and sometimes played the piano during Sunday services. She participated in all of the education ministries of the parish.
On any given day, you would find our mom on the Leo Adler pathway with her cherished border collies and, after retirement, at the golf course at her weekly bridge game. She always looked forward to the monthly "Birthday Lunches" with her friends. And when you did see her, she would always ask you how you were, as well as your kids and your dogs. Dianne had an incredible ability to connect, as she truly cared for everyone.
Dianne is survived by her husband, Robert P. Ellingson III; their three boys and wives, Travis Ellingson of Lacey, WA, Todd & Shannon Ellingson of Sherwood, Oregon, Thomas & Janice Ellingson of San Anselmo, California; her beloved grandsons, Parcher, Teddy, Beckett, Joey, and Maddox, her brother-in-law & his wife Peter & Virginia Ellingson, her mid-western nieces and their husbands, Phil and Nancy Tegeler and Ron and Sandra Johnson and her many nieces and nephews.
But the true list of all those she is survived by includes the students, friends, and community members whom she loved. We all lost a caring and giving soul, and we will miss her dearly.
Her memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at 4:00 pm at the First Lutheran Church in Baker City, Oregon. There will be a reception afterward for all who want to join us in the Wilson hangar at Baker City Municipal Airport.
Memorial contributions may be made to First Lutheran Church or the charity of your choice through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel at 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
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First Lutheran Church
1734 3rd Street, Baker City OR 97814