Ella Sue Harmon, 79, of Lily Lake, passed away at her home, surrounded by the love and prayers of her family, following a short but fierce battle with cancer that broke her body but never her spirit.
She was born Nov. 18, 1933, in Athens, Tenn., the daughter of Peter and Nellie (Vincent) Womac.
Ella Sue grew up in the rural areas surrounding Athens, and attended Idlewild Elementary School.
As many in her generation can attest, schooling only went so far before they were called back home to help support the family. Ella Sue worked from early in the morning and kept going strong through evening chores, but also as the oldest, she helped raise her siblings as well.
Although they had known each other since childhood and attended the Clear Springs Baptist Church together, Willis Harmon had to work hard to win Ella Sue’s heart, but won it he did, and she gave hers in return. On Dec. 4, 1955, they were united in marriage in Athens.
They made their home in Tennessee until the mid-1960s, when they moved to Illinois. They settled in the Lily Lake-Maple Park area, where Willis worked for the Elburn Packing Company. Soon he was driving for Speedway Disposal and later retired as a driver for Waste Management. Willis and Ella were blessed with five children whom they loved deeply.
After Willis’ passing in 2005, Ella Sue continued to live in their home that was filled with a million memories and those special moments that take your breath away.
Ella Sue took her education in the “school of life” and put it to work, making sure their house was a home that was brimming with love and laughter. Her children were her life, and there wasn’t anything that she wouldn’t or couldn’t do for them.
She was a faithful and longtime member of the Wasco Baptist Church.
Ella Sue’s kitchen was her castle, and her garden was the kingdom, where she reigned as ruler supreme. Any recipe became a work of art, filling the house with the aroma of perfection. Baking was second nature, and countless cookies, cakes and more fed the sweet tooth of family and friends. If she didn’t already have your favorite, it wasn’t long before a fresh batch was made and ready.
Summertime was her favorite time because she could continue her canning empire. Garden harvests became cans filled with tomato juice, green beans and many others, not to mention her infamous green tomato pickles. They filled the shelves of her pantry, ready to savor when the winter months came calling. Ella Sue adored each and every grandchild and loved to play board games with the kids—but they had to work hard to beat her.
A master story teller, she kept the little ones enthralled when she read books, opening magical worlds with only a phrase or two.
She is survived by five children, Linda (Scott) Stouffer of Maple Park, Donald (Pamela) Harmon of St. Charles, Pamela (Kevin) Bohlin of Elgin, Ill., Gordon (Betsy) Harmon of Lockport, Ill., and Alex Harmon of Lily Lake; 12 grandchildren, Amanda Bohlin, Derek Harmon, David (Stephanie McCord) Stouffer, Robert (Jacque) Harmon, Ashley Bohlin, Katie Stouffer, Mike Bohlin, Jessica Stouffer, Jared Harmon, Joshua Samuels, Brittany Harmon and Ben Harmon; seven siblings, Raymond (Mary) Womac, Dorothy Crisp, Nina Boyd, Arlin (Pat) Womac,
James (Becky) Womac, Betty King and P.J. Womac; many nieces, nephews and cousins; and a countryside of friends, both here and in Tennessee.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Peter and Nellie Womac; her husband, Willis; three siblings, Charlie Arnold Womac, Fraymond Womac and Ruby Bright; and one nephew, Ronnie Bright.
Visitation was held on Sunday at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A funeral to celebrate her faith was held Monday at the Wasco Baptist Church, 4N783 Old La Fox Road, Wasco, with a brief visitation prior to the service. Rev. Bruce Miller, pastor of the church, officiated. Interment followed at Lily Lake Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Ella Sue’s name. Checks may be made to the “Ella Sue Harmon Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com, where you can find her full-life story.