Ella Johanna HannahMay 24, 1919 ~ May 4, 2017 (age 97)
Ella Hannah 1919-2017
Ella Johanna Thoresen Bussinger Hannah, just three weeks short of her 98th Birthday, passed away May 4th, 2017. Although she suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for many yearsand was legally blind, it was congestive heart failure that ended her life, leaving no regrets.
She was born May 24, 1919 on the farm near Antelope, Montana. Her parents were JohnHilmar (d.1947) and Valborg Thoresen (d.1988), immigrants from Norway. She graduated from Antelope High School in 1936. In 1940 she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics at Montana State College in Bozeman, Montana. She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. Her first teaching position was at Belfry High School in Montana where she taught Home Economics and English. It was there that she caught the eye of grade school superintendent, Paul Bussinger, of Worden, Montana.
Ella and Paul were married June 22, 1941 at her family farm near Antelope. They lived in Belfry and Laurel where Paul taught school 1941 to 1943. Ella taught Home Ec and Science in Antelope (1943-1944) while Paul worked as an expeditor at Boeing aircraft in Seattle during World War II.
When her folks retired in 1945, Ella and Paul took over the farm near Antelope and raised their 5 children there. She was active in the Lutheran church and Sunday School, Sons of Norway (life member), 4-H club, Cub Scouts, Welfare Club and was a substitute High School teacher.
Ella & Paul had been married twenty-seven years, when Paul died suddenly of a heart attack on Nov. 8, 1969 at the age of 55. It was the supportive neighbors that helped seed and harvest the final crops on the Bussinger farm. Ella then attended Montana State University for six months as a postgraduate while three of her children were also attending MSU. In 1971, she and her youngest son, Scott, moved to Bozeman where she worked at the Hallmark stores for 3 years, then at Fabrics by Pincushion for 7 years. She was always busy sewing with all the fabrics she acquired there.
She moved to Portland, Oregon in August of 1982 to be closer to all of her children and bought a home near her sister, Ruth. It was when she visited Plentywood for the 75th Anniversary of the City of Plentywood in 1987, that she met Elwood “Woody” Hannah of Billings (formerly of Raymond). Ella and Woody were raised in the same neck of the woods, but had never met, although they had so many friends in common. They were married on Jan 7, 1989. She moved to Billings where Woody owned Hannah Real Estate Company. Ella was 69 at the time and they enjoyed seventeen years together.
In 2007, Ella moved to Portland for the second time, this time living at the Town Center Retirement Village. Ella was fortunate to have Mari Ann, her baby sister, living in the same retirement home, just one floor apart, for the last 6 years. She lived there independently until February of this year, when she moved to assisted living at the same Village.
Ella filled her time with flower gardening, crosswords, jumbles, playing the organ, crocheting afghans, and challenging anyone to a game of Scrabble. She was quite competent with the new technology and enjoyed being on her computer. She created a hard bound history of her life called “The Way it Was” and a follow up to it years later. Paulette has copies for loan if you’d like to read it. When her vision failed her, she started making small afghans for loving dogs who weren’t at all critical.
Ella compiled a “Death List” on her computer. It is a list (730 names) of all her acquaintances throughout the years, when they died, how old they were, and the cause of death. Ella’s name was also on that list and every year she updated her own personal information. She would change the year she died on New Year’s Eve, and update her age on her Birthday. She was happy to make it to the front page, being number 15 by order of age. She wore Keds tennis shoes, almost every day of her life. She made quite a fashion statement when her toes started hurting. She grabbed her scissors and altered her Keds by making them open-toed!
Ella was preceded in death by her parents, husband Paul (d.1969), husband Woody (d.2006), and her sister, Ruth (d.2012).
She is survived by her children; Dr. Ronald (Trudy), Thoresen (Kathy), Larry (Susan), Paulette Kelley (Brian), & Scott (Jennifer). GgElla has 7 grandchildren & 6 great grandchildren. Every month after she moved to Portland, one of her sons, including Randy (along with their wives) would come from Washington to visit. Paulette lives nearby in Portland.
Ella is also survived by her three stepsons, Randy (Kathy), Tom (Marie), and Rich (Sue) Hannah. They provided Ella with 12 more grandchildren, 13 more great grandchildren, and 2 great great grandchildren.
Her sister, Mari Ann, is still living at Town Center Village in Portland.
A celebration of life will take place in Portland at Town Center Village on Saturday, June 3rd at 2:00 PM. The family will attend Ella’s interment at the Antelope Cemetery on August 12, 2017. Memorials may be given to the cause of your choice.