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Margaret Antoinette (DePlazes) Ely

Born: Wed., Oct. 3, 1917
Died: Thu., Dec. 25, 2014


Interment following funeral service

Tue., Dec. 30, 2014
Location: Greybull Cemetery


Funeral Service

10:00 AM Tue., Dec. 30, 2014
Location: Sacred Heart Church


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Margaret Antoinette Ely, 97, passed away peacefully on Christmas Day at the Wyoming Retirement Center in Basin, Wyoming.  

Margaret was born October 3, 1917, in York, ND, to Nicholas and Margaret Katherine (Kate) Deplazes. She was the fourteenth of sixteen children, for Nicholas, who had immigrated from Switzerland, and Kate, from Bavaria.

After graduating in 1936 from St. Mary’s Academy in Devils Lake, ND, as the valedictorian of her class, she attended beauty school in Fargo, ND. She returned to work in Devils Lake for a few years before boarding a train to go join up with the Women’s Army Corp in February of 1944. She was then stationed at the March Field Air Force Base in Riverside, California, where she would drive a truck loaded with airman back and forth from their planes. Since she was a farm girl, they assumed that she could drive a stick shift, and she did have a blast while learning. Her WAC family became lifelong friends who continued to exchange cards every Christmas, until she was the lone survivor just a few years ago.

While proudly serving her country, she met a soldier, Master Sargent Loyce Ely, who had just returned from Holland where his B-24 had been shot down.  As World War II was coming to an end, Cpl. Margaret Deplazes received her discharge on December 10, 1945, and was soon married to Ely on Christmas Day, 1945.

They lived in California for a year, then moved back to North Dakota where they bought a farm near Crocus in Towner County and began raising their large family, along with durum, barley and oats, and of course, livestock and alfalfa. In addition to taking care of twelve children, she raised a huge garden and canned many quarts of vegetables and fruit.  She was famous for her wonderful homemade buns and caramel rolls.  Her baking skills were outstanding, especially during the holidays.

Before school started in the fall, she would sit at her Singer sewing machine and sew each of her daughters a new dress, between hauling loads of grain during harvest.  During the long North Dakota winters, she found time for a mean game of cards, especially pinochle.  She also enjoyed reading her daily paper so she could keep up on the news.

Margaret was an active member of the VFW Women’s Auxiliary, both in ND and Wyoming.

She was a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary church in Rock Lake, ND, and was active in the Holy Rosary Alter Society, until moving to Greybull, Wyoming, after their final harvest in September of 1971. She then became a member of the Sacred Heart Parish and the Altar Society.   After moving into town, from their home on Shell Creek, she enjoyed starting her day by attending daily Mass and would always have her bible open near her.  She was well known by everyone for her long walks with Ely nearly every day of her life, until his death in March, 2005.

Following the death of her husband, she remained in good health, and looked forward to sharing a cup of coffee with anyone who would stop by.  She loved to talk about her family and growing up in North Dakota. She often reminisced about how her mother had to raise her large family after her dad passed away when she was only three years old.

Surviving Margaret are her children, Toni (Erin) Talbott of Fairbanks, AK, Celeste (Jay) Butler of Billings, MT, Ruth (Duane) Kram of Bismarck, ND, Steven (Holly) of Potlatch, ID, Marian (Bill) VanGrinsven of Greybull, WY, Denise (Jerry) Stockwell of Greybull, Cynthia (Duane) Powers of Greybull, Patrick (Johnna) of Basin, WY, and Tina (Earl) Miller of Greybull, WY. Also surviving her are 32 grandchildren, and numerous great grandchildren. Her sister-in-law, Cleo Deplazes of Devils Lake, ND also survives her, as well as many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband, sons Joel and Thomas, and daughter Hope, and grandson Sam. She was the last surviving member of the Nicholas and Katherine Deplazes family.

Funeral Mass will be at Sacred Heart Church in Greybull at 10 a.m. Tuesday, December 30, 2014 with military burial to follow at Donald J. Ruhl Memorial Cemetery in Greybull.

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Mary Everson
   Posted Mon December 29, 2014
We were sorry to hear of Aunt Margarets death.
She was a special Aunt to me. We had some really nice visits with both your parents when we lived in Cody. She always made us feel at home. Our thoughts are with you all.
Mary and Bob Everson

Nola Dahlen
   Posted Mon December 29, 2014
With sympathy in losing your mother. I have so many memories of visiting your family in Crocus when we were kids. We always had so much fun! Also enjoyed visiting with your folks a few times in Greybull. Its kind of hard to think that we are now the "old aunts" in the family! Cherish your memories and your time with each other. Nola and Dan

Mike Deplazes
   Posted Mon December 29, 2014
I really wish we had been able to be with you at this time. You did a very good job of summarizing your Mom's life. Sad to say, her passing marks the end of an era and she and your Dad were an important part of our early lives. I always knew how very much they loved each one of you. You will all be in our thoughts and prayers tomorrow and in the future. We look forward to seeing any of you who come to North Dakota and we will stop if we are in Wyoming.

I think your Mom and my Dad were closer to each other not only because of their closeness in age and growing up without their father; but, they seemed to support each other through their lives. I always appreciated it in later years.

Bless the memory of Aunt Margaret!

Mike and Glenda Deplazes

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