MARQUETTE — Elizabeth S. Ehman, 95, formerly of Benzonia, died peacefully at D. J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette on Jan. 4, 2013. Betty or Liz (she was known as both depending on when and where) was born Dec. 18, 1917, in Chatham, Ill., to Villa M. and John P. Stout.
She grew up on the family farm, attended the one-room Enterprise Grade School and the Ball Township Community High School, graduating in 1934. From there she attended Blackburn College and the University of Illinois, where she graduated in 1939 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. At U of I, she was initiated into the Delta Gamma Sorority, Iota Chapter, and the Psi Chi Honorary sorority. She began teaching in Springfield, Ill., and during the summer attended Columbia University Teacher's College. In 1943 she graduated with a master's degree in education.
She loved teaching the little children and wanted a family of her own, so when World War II broke out she decided that she needed to go where the men were. In August, 1943 she enlisted in the Navy WAVES. She was stationed in Norman, Okla., where she served as a machinist's mate and maintained the Stearman training plane maintenance log books. There she met all the mechanics, including John "Ted" Ehman. They were married on Sept. 7, 1946.
She lived her dream of having a family when three children were born to them. In addition to raising her children in Albion and Midland, Liz was also very active in her church, teaching Sunday school for many years, singing in the choir and helping in the women's organizations. She was a Girl Scout leader, PTO president, sewed, knitted and played bridge. Using her craft skills, she was able to create many wonderful gifts, Christmas tree ornaments and other projects.
Her life took on a new dimension when Ted's work transferred the family to Melbourne, Australia, for four years. There her whole life expanded as she encountered new cultures, foods, experiences and travel. The friends she made there have lasted to this day.
One of Liz's passions was P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization, in which she was a member for 67 years. She served the organization in many official capacities at the local level and was active at the state level. She was especially proud of Cottey College, which is owned and run by P.E.O.
When she and Ted moved to Ironton, Ohio, Habitat for Humanity became a focus of her life. She continued to volunteer for this organization when they retired to Benzonia, where she was instrumental in establishing the annual Festival of Lights. This festival continues to be a major fundraiser for the Benzie Habitat for Humanity. She used her craft skills to make ornaments from discarded items to decorate a "recycled" tree each year for the festival.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John "Ted" Ehman; parents, John P. and Villa M. Stout; her two brothers and their wives, R. Philemon and Gertrude Stout and John S. and Nancy Jane Stout; and son-in-law, Thomas R. Paupore.
She is survived by children, Gretchen E. Paupore, of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., Thomas P. (Patricia) Ehman, of Houston, Texas, and Penelope E. (Ron) Olson, of Parachute, Colo.; grandchildren, Carin Paupore, Carolyn Ehman, Jonathan (Morgan) Ehman, Susan Ehman, Kristina (Charles) Dodd and Jeffery (Adrienne) Pelletier-Olson; and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held in late spring in Benzonia, with Jowett Family Funeral Homes in Benzonia in charge of arrangements.
Condolences can be expressed at their online web site at www.jowettfamilyfuneralhome.com.
For those wishing to do so, memorial donations can be made to Habitat for Humanity of Benzie County or First Congregational Church UCC, Benzonia, or Cottey College, Nevada, Mo.