Ernest Benjamin Gillis Family History

Elizabeth Jean GILLIS[1, 2]

Female 1925 - 2011  (86 years)


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  • Name Elizabeth Jean GILLIS  [3, 4
    Born 18 Apr 1925  Tracy, Lyon, Minnesota, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5
    Gender Female 
    _UID 1FADF14D80D147A79CD12D10FBF70D82742C 
    Died 23 May 2011  Everett, Snohomish, Washington, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I30  tag3
    Last Modified 7 Sep 2018 

    Father Ernest Benjamin GILLIS,   b. 11 Jul 1888, South Royalton, Windsor, Vermont, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Mar 1976, Redmond, King, Washington, United States Of America Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Mother Della Mae EDWARDS,   b. 23 Oct 1895, Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 May 1983, Snohomish, Snohomish, Washington, United States Of America Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Married 16 Jul 1914  Walnut Grove, Redwood, Minnesota, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5
    • Ernest Benjamin Gillis was born on 11 Jul 1888 in South Royalton, Vermont. He died on 13 Mar 1976 in Kirkland, Washington. Ernest was the son of the Reverend William McNab Gillis and Mary Elizabeth Codville. He was one of five children ?   two boys (Ernest and William Hillery) and three girls (Winifred Martha, May Gertrude, and Edith Mabel).

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernest as a young boy
      At age of 3, his family moved from Vermont to Minnesota, where they lived in the town of Plainview for 5 years, then Pine Island 6 years, Fairmont 2 years, and Rushmore 1 year. The family moved often because Ernest's father, William McNab Gillis, was a Methodist Episcopal minister, and as such, would be assigned different churches.

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernest as a young adult
      Ernest began attending Worthington High School when he was a junior and graduated from there. All his life, he loved the land and working with soil, tending crops and growing things. Ernest enrolled in the University of Minnesota Farm School to became a farmer. After graduation, in the spring of 1908, he rented and farmed the old Andrew Clay Farm northeast of Amiret, Minnesota.

      Photo of Ernest
      Della and Ernest
      shortly after their wedding
      In the spring of 1911, Ernest moved south of Amiret to a half-section that he farmed as a bachelor until he married Della May Edwards. Della was helping in a store in Amiret at the time. They married in 1914 on July 16th, and the ceremony was performed by Ernest's father, William, in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in William's home.

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernie and Della's first farm
      Della was born on 23 Oct 1895 in Sioux City, Iowa, and died at her youngest daughter's home 01 May 1983 in Snohomish, Washington. Della was the daughter of Edward Edwards, a teamster, and Agnes Elizabeth Jardine.

      Photo of Ernest
      Grace and Neil in front of new house
      In the spring of 1924, Ernest and Della moved to a farm south of Tracy, MN. That fall they moved to the Kyle Farm, north of Tracy. In the spring of 1925, they rented the Curtis Farm. Later in March 1926, they moved to Balaton, Minnesota, where they remained the next 17 years.

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernest holding Grace
      Then in the fall of 1942, Ernest moved to Washington State, making a major change in his life and that of Della and the remaining children at home. He successfully found work out West thanks in part to the War effort and the many jobs in the Seattle area (such as the Boeing plant - aircraft construction etc.); and while there, he right away bought 5 acres of land in the town of Alderwood Manor, Washington, some 15 miles north of Seattle off Highway 99. He (of course) started fruit orchards, gardens, and began some farming while building a new home for his family. By this time, Ernest and Della had had 11 wonderful children, four of whom were still living at home and in July 1943, Della and their four girls who were still at home joined him via a long train trip. Once they arrived together in Alderwood Manor, the family lived in a cabin until the new home was ready for them to occupy.

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernest and Della, in MN
      Later on, in 1966 at age 78, Ernest completed a second home on the Alderwood Manor property, adjacent to the first home. He and Della moved into it and rented out the first one. This accomplishment of building a home at a somewhat advanced age -- much of it by his own hands -- speaks to the industriousness and tenacity of Ernest and his work ethic.

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernest and Della's 25th Anniversary
      House in Balaton, MN
      Over the years, Ernest and Della's home was often the site of many large family picnics and parties. Several of their younger childrens' weddings were held in their home. Many of their numerous grandchildren - some 56 total - can vividly recall spending days and days in the fields, climbing trees and eating fruit from the trees growing all over on the land. Their home was a wonderful place of gathering and family, a tradition not lost on their descendants.

      When Ernest was unable to keep up the land and home by himself in the 1970s, both the homes and land were sold, and he and Della then lived with family members. While Ernest eventually had to be cared for in a nursing home until his death in 1976, Della was fortunate in being able to live with her daughters in the Seattle area until her death in 1983. Both Ernest and Della are still missed to this day and are fondly remembered by all. [4, 5]
    Family ID F4  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Elizabeth (Betty) finished her high school years while living with Mr. Hakes in Windom, Minn.  After marrying Albert Cyr, they established a home in Alderwood Manor, Washington, next to Betty's father's home, Ernest Gillis.  They eventually sold that home and moved to Maltby, Washington

      My dad, Albert Marion Cyr, was born on March 13, 1921, and he died on March 16, 2000.
      My mom, Elizabeth Jean (Betty) Gillis Cyr, was born on April 18, 1925, and she died on May 23, 2011.
      My parents were married on June 18, 1943.

      Hope this information will be helpful. I don't think I have any obituaries. If I find any, I will send you a copy.

      Also, if you need any information about my two sisters and my brother who passed away, let me know.

      Hope all is going well for you.

      Carol Ellen Cyr-Hibbs
      Born:  12-15-1948
      Died:  1-2-2015

      Nancy Mae Cyr Carlson
      Born:  3-19-1948
      Died:  3:20-2007

      Robert Ernest (Bob) Cyr
      Born:  3-28-1949
      Married:  12-31-1979
      Died:  9-23-2016



      Love,
      Mary [3, 4, 5]

  • Sources 
    1. [S92] .

    2. [S112] .

    3. [S2] .

    4. [S68] .

    5. [S89] .