Elsie Lee Jackson passed away on Thursday, November 22, 2012 in Martin, SD. She was just a few weeks shy of her 95th birthday.
Elsie Lee King was born on Dec 16, 1917, on her parent’s ranch in Survey Valley in the Sandhills of Cherry County, Ne. She was named for them both, Lee D and Elsie Calame King. The Kings lived on several places in the Sandhills then moved to Hyattville, Wyo. when Elsie Lee was young. She always remembered her time there with fondness. She especially liked living so near her Grandpa, Calvin Calame. He took her fishing often and once bought her a brand new pair of high top shoes, which she treasured.
Lee King developed pneumonia and his health was not one hundred percent so when his brother Fred wrote and invited him to move to Ashby, NE and work in his store, Lee moved the family there. They lived in a house one half mile east of town. There was an old pump on the place and Elsie Lee told that when the Ashby kids needed money, they would take it to town and sell it to Uncle Fred. He bought that pump many times over.
Elsie Lee graduated from Ashby High School in 1936, and then attended Chadron Teacher’s College. She taught school in many country schools throughout her life, riding horseback to get to work in the early years.
In 1920 Lee and Elsie were living in King Precinct in Cherry County with 3 year old Elsie Lee. On a nearby ranch were Carl and Katy Jackson with 3 year old Franklin. However, it wasn’t until a New Year’s dance in 1935 or 36 that Elsie Lee remembered meeting him. They were married on August 28, 1940 in Ashby. The Jackson’s eventually bought a ranch south of Wood Lake, Ne where they raised their young family until 1958 when they moved to the ranch south of Martin.
There was a quiet strength to Elsie Lee. When the family lived near Wood Lake, far from a doctor, she would have to fly to her appointments when she was pregnant with Marilee. Later when a bull injured Franklin’s leg, she kept the ranch running while tending to 5 young children. She nursed Cathy through her diabetes and then remained strong through the ordeal of her death.
Elsie Lee was a kind teacher and a great ranch wife. She always had a big garden, raised chickens and was an excellent cook. Cowboys and others who had business to discuss with Franklin often managed to come by around meal time and were, of course, invited to stay and eat. But the most important thing in Elsie Lee’s life was undoubtedly her family. Her mother, Elsie King taught school near Wood Lake for a time and Lee lived in the Jackson’s bunk house. Elsie stayed at school during the week and joined Lee there on weekends. Elsie Lee as well as the grandkids enjoyed this time with her parents.
Elsie Lee always stayed close to her 8 siblings. Before the age of cell phones and email, the King family kept in touch by “Round Robin.” Elsie Lee looked forward to the big envelope containing letters from her siblings every month or so. She would enjoy reading each one, then replace her old letter and send the Robin on its way. The group met for a reunion at least every other year, often at Fort Robinson, sharing children and grandchildren and many memories.
Above all, Elsie Lee was a great mother. When Carl got his first rifle, she would take time from all her other responsibilities and walk along with him while he hunted rabbits. She was teaching at the Survey Valley school when Pat was in the 5th grade took her along for the school year. The two of them had some special time together all week, coming home on weekends. She enjoyed all of her grand-kids as well. Elsie Lee had a big hand in raising the older ones and was able to relax and enjoy Meghan when she came along later on in her life.
Elsie Lee was a former member of the SD Retired Teachers Association and worked at the Bennett County Hospital and was active at the Senior Citizens Center when she lived near Martin.
Like the entire King family, Elsie Lee was a quiet person but had a terrific sense of humor and a great deal of musical talent. No one could play the Black Hawk Waltz like she could or do the Charleston! Even the last two years in the Nursing Home, she kept the staff and residents entertained with both her wit and her singing. One resident stopped by her room on Thursday and said, “I will miss her voice.” We all will.
Elsie Lee was preceded in death by her husband, Franklin, daughter Cathy Atchison, grandson William Atchison, Jr. and several siblings: Kenneth King, Sophie and husband George Anderson, Virgil King, Myrtle Blaylock, Eugene and wife Darlene King, Thelma Kennedy, and brother-in-law Alvin Hamilton.
She is survived by four children: Darlene of Hot Springs, Carl and wife Hannah of Martin, Marilee Hawkins of Rapid City and Patricia and husband Vince Logue of Oelrichs, SD; two sisters, Shirley and husband Robert Ostrander and Phyllis Hamilton, brother-in-law Charles Blaylock and sister-in-law Bettie King. Elsie Lee is also mourned by several grandchildren, great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be Wednesday, November 28 at 2:00 p.m. at the Ashby United Church of Christ with Reverend Morris Nelson officiating. Burial will be in the Ashby Cemetery.
A memorial has been established to the Ashby United Church of Christ, P.O. Box 51, Ashby, NE 69333.
Online condolences may be left at www.batesgould.com with Bates-Gould Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.