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In Remembrance of Ellen Marie Cole

20 September, 1937 ~ 24 June, 2012
Royal Oak, MI, United States

Message from Cynthia Douglas:

" Mom was a multifaceted lady who was full of surprises and never dull. I would love to read experiences and memories others have of her and to share who this fascinating woman was. Please feel free to contribute any photos or memories or songs or favorite mom sayings. Let us celebrate her life! "


Our beloved Ellen Cole passed peacefully in her sleep on the morning of June 24, 2012.
She was born on September 20th, 1937 to Peter and Alma Kaer in a little house on Fredrick Street in Royal Oak, Michigan. She was the youngest of four children, two of whom survive her;
Donald Kaer of Florida and Charles Kaer, also in Michigan. Her sister Elizabeth, (Betty), passed away several years ago.
She is survived by four children;
Stephen, Cynthia, Laurie, David and the little baby born too early prior to David's birth; Katherine. (Who she hoped to see again one day when her time came to pass.)
She has seven grandchildren;
Dawn, Christina, Naomi, Jasin, Daniel, Samantha and Jessica.
She also leaves behind many foster children who she loved very much.
Ellen lived in many cities in Metro Detroit, as well as a brief time in Germany when her first husband Pat Gallagher was stationed there. Steve was conceived there, but she flew home big with baby to make sure he would be born in the United States in 1958. Two years later came Cynthia.
Later, she moved to California in the mid to late 1960's and again in the early 1970s. That was where our California girl Laurie was born in 1967, her daughter with her then husband Bruce Willis. (No...not that Bruce Willis.)
Eventually, she settled back to Michigan where she met and wed James Cole and lived in Royal Oak for some years. This is where she was both so sad to have not been able to carry Katherine to term, yet absolutely thrilled to have been able to give birth son David shortly thereafter. Dave was her last baby, (doctors orders), so she had a ball savoring his early years.
Around 1982, Ellen found a way to make a lifelong dream of surrounding herself with children who needed her love and compassion come true. Ever since she had been a teenager and had helped her friend, (sort of a mentor, really), Dee Trainor look after her large brood of children, Ellen loved the idea of a house full of kids. The Sound of Music movie was a big favorite of hers and she fancied herself not unlike like Julie Andrews' Maria :-)
She moved to northern Michigan in the early 1980's, enlisting her son Steve to design a large house to be built that could accommodate several children at a time. Initially she had thought she would open a home type setting for teenagers and young adults struggling with drug and alcohol issues, but wound up filling an area need for a foster home. She had many kids over the years, forming relationships that often continued for the rest of her life.
After years of helping foster kids, she retired from that and moved to Traverse City, where she attended college while in her fifties, (inspiring!) and worked at a hospital for a while. She lived with Laurie for some years, then moved back to Royal Oak for a few years, reconnecting with some friends from her early life. In 2008 (?) she moved out to Las Vegas, which she was quite happy to do. (No storms or tornadoes :-)
Ellen made friends everywhere she went at every juncture of her life. People loved how easy she was to talk to as well as how genuine she was with them. She was the essence of unpretentiousness and put strangers at ease very quickly. People found themselves readily opening up to her, as she knew when to show compassionate interest.
Ellen loved to have fun and loved young people. She enjoyed connecting to extended family and friends- old and new, via her vibrant online life.
She felt she had led a nice long life and that she was ready to go home to rest.


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