Madison - Elaine F. Ellibee (Mrs. Ben B.) entered heaven and eternal peace on Saturday evening, November 17, 2012. On Saturday night, Elaine decided she had completed her life's work of raising her family and accomplishing what she needed to in her career to join Ben in heaven.
Elaine Margaret Franke Ellibee was born April 9, 1924 to Arno and Alma (Schmidt) Franke in Miner, IL. Much of Elaine's childhood was spent in the Midwest - between Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. The Franke's had many friends and family that Elaine was blessed to have in her life - the Schmidts, Dittmers, Peines, and Rischs. All loved and cared for her in innumerable ways and gave her life gifts that she ultimately gave to others.
Elaine was a proud graduate of Elmhurst College (B.S. Biology) and went on to receive her Masters of Nursing from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. Elaine's higher education was always a great source of pride and her strong values of lifelong learning she not only passed to her own children, but the nursing professionals and students that she worked with and taught over the years.
Her educational success allowed her to transition into a thriving nursing career. As a registered nurse, Elaine accomplished much and contributed greatly to nursing education and leadership at the local, state and national levels. She quickly rose from a staff nurse in Cleveland, Ohio to a nursing instructor; and then led staffs as a director of nursing at hospitals in Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin. From the hospital level, she then had to the opportunity to lead at the state level as a WI State nursing practice consultant and then the WI State Director of the Division of Nursing from 1974-1980. Even after her retirement to Arkansas, Elaine loved her time as a research and nursing studies coordinator at the Baptist Medical System School of Nursing in Little Rock, Arkansas.
With her career positions, Elaine's enduring focus in nursing was superior patient care and continuing education for nursing leaders. As a result, she was recognized by numerous state and national nursing organizations. Elaine held leadership positions with the WI Nurses Association; WI League of Nursing and was the first president of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. In Arkansas, she was a board member and chair for the Cleburne County Hospital in Heber Springs; as well as a member and president of the Baptist Medical Center Auxiliary Board in Little Rock.
Although she was proud of her career, she was most proud of her family. Husband Ben, Margaret (daughter), and Chris (son) were the lights of her life. She demanded much and had high expectations, but was always there with hugs, kisses, a good teasing, and endless love. She also loved her purses, stylish shoes, and dry brandy manhattans.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Ben in 2000. She is survived by her children - son, Chris and wife Sue Mattes Ellibee; and Dr. Margaret (Muggy) Ellibee and partner Sue Ball. She also is survived by her three stepchildren and their families- David and Lana Ellibee, Linda and Ron Devillier, and Merri Oxley.
Our family would like to extend our thanks to Dr. Lisa Grant, Dr. Paul Hick; Rhonda of Dr. Grant's team; Agrace Hospice, and the entire staff of Capitol Lakes Health Care Center. Your love, care, and compassion helped Elaine be more comfortable every day.
A memorial service celebrating Elaine's life will be held on April 20, 2013.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Pulaski Technical College Foundation, North Little Rock, AR; Agrace Hospice, Madison, WI; or Capitol Lakes Staff Appreciation Fund, Madison, WI.