The year was 1908. William Taft was president; the first Model Ts were rolling off the assembly line; Orville Wright was building the nation’s first military plane; Cy Young was pitching for the Red Sox; a brand-new gadget called the radio was just getting started, and so was Gertrude “Ella” Ellison.

Gertrude was born on May 16, 1908, in Anoka, Minnesota, the home of the Dakota and Ojibwa Indians. She was raised in pioneer country on the open plains of Pollock, South Dakota. It was a hard life, but she prospered as a rural schoolteacher, walking several miles each day to and from her single-room school house. Gertrude not only taught history but also lived it.

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After arriving and building a life in Washington, Gertrude devoted her energy and spirit to church and community. Her faith in God and humanity still takes her to church on Sundays, breakfasts with family, and countless baptisms, weddings, baby showers, and celebrations in between.

She is a pinnacle of her family, the anchor in the storm, and a beacon for her community.

On May 16th, we celebrate Gertrude’s 110th year as a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, a caring neighbor, and a wonderful friend.

Happy 110th birthday!