Nonabelle Ellefson

Mass of Christian burial for Nonabelle Ellefson, age 85, of Philip, SD, formerly of Faith, SD, was celebrated Monday, July 21, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Faith. Father Marcin Garbacz and Father John Heying officiated with burial at the White Owl Cemetery.

Nonabelle Howie was born February 14, 1923, at Faith SD, to Earl Delano and Rose Isabel (Hellekson) Howie. She attended Barada Rural School, graduated from Faith High School, and attended a year of college at Black Hills State.

On December 26, 1940, she married Victor Julian Ellefson. Vic was a member of the 109th Engineers National Guard Unit in Sturgis. When the unit was activated in January of 1941, they moved to Camp Claiborne, LA.

Following Vic's release, they returned to Marcus and bought the Ellefson ranch and raised the family there. After Vic's death in 1978, and her son, John's death in 1980, Nonabelle and her son, Dennis, continued to live on the ranch until it was sold in 1988 when she moved into Faith.

She was one of the organizers of the Marcus 4-H Club, the Community Club and helped with the renovation of the Marcus and Faith Community Halls. She helped serve many lunches at the high school and 4-H rodeos to help with these projects. She joined the Faith Senior Citizens Center and loved the companionship and the participation.

Nonabelle loved young people and upon moving to Faith provided a place for many to call home during the school year. She encouraged sports participation and attended all the events. She traveled many miles to see them participate in football, basketball, softball, baseball and rodeo and was most thrilled when her son and grandson were State Rodeo Champions. She loved to dance, sew, cook, and was a gracious hostess. Her sewing machine traveled many miles teaching 4-H'ers and made many cheerleading outfits for her daughters. On Saturday nights, you would find the Ellefsons at a dance and on Sunday they traveled across South Dakota for baseball games, including the S.D. State Tournament in Eureka. Nonabelle was often the scorekeeper while Vic, and later Dennis, played.

In failing health, she moved to the Faith Living Center in 2002 and in February 2005 she moved to the Philip Nursing Home and became a member of another big happy family. Her family thanks the wonderful personnel, doctors and friends for their kind and loving care the past three years and especially her last weeks.

Nonabelle Ellefson, age 85, longtime Faith/Marcus Area resident, passed away at the Philip Hospital Tuesday evening, July 15, 2008.

Grateful for having shared her life are her son, Dennis (Wanda) Ellefson; one daughter, Annelle (George) Afdahl, both of Faith, SD; a son-in-law, Norman (Kay) Backhaus, Manly IA; eight grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; one sister, Bonnie Jean McAtee, Casper, WY; one uncle, Dell (Mary Helen) Hellekson, Rapid City, SD; one sister-in-law, Mildred (Roy) VanSickle, Newell, SD; one brother-in-law, John Schmidt, Sturgis, SD; one brother-in-law, Irvin Thompson, Marcus, SD; and numerous, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Nonabelle was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Victor, in 1978; a son, John, in 1980; a daughter, Marlene Backhaus, in 1999; a sister, Marion Thompson; and a brother-in-law, Tom McAtee.

A memorial has been established by the family.

Condolences to Nonabelle's family can be sent to www.evansonjensenfuneralhome.com.