The year 1947 would be a tough year for Keith and his siblings. He would lose his Aunt Nellie and his father Ronald within months of each other.
Nellie was probably the only mother he knew, since his natural mother Grace had died when he was 18 months old. Nellie took on the role of caring for Ronald’s children about 1920, maybe earlier, but I have not been able to establish a good date.
Nellie’s formal name was Ellen Elizabeth McDonald. She was born on 26 November, 1870 in Chichester, Pontiac Co., Quebec to Archibald and Mary McDonell. I have featured Nellie in several posts on this blog. She migrated with her parents to Minnesota in 1901 and lived with them till their deaths. We find Nellie with Ronald in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census in Cheney, Washington so by that time she was totally committed to Ronald’s family. Nellie never married instead she chose to stay with her brother Ronald, and help raise his children.
It was very interesting to me to see that Nellie acted as her own informant on her death certificate. This is usually not done.
Death Certificate for Ellen Elizabeth McDonald. She died in Yakima, Yakima Co., Washington having lived in the community for 10 years. She died in the St. Elizabeth’s hospital where she had been only one day. Nellie died May 8, 1947. She was listed as single. Her date of birth was given as Nov. 26, 1870. She was 78 years old, 4 months and 15 days at her death. Her birthplace was Quebec, Canada. She did not have an occupation listed. Her father was Archibald McDonald also born in Quebec, Canada. Her mother was Mary McDonald who was born in Canada. She was the claimant on her hospital record. She was to be buried in Calvary and Langevin-Meyer were handling the arrangements. She died of [apolelez] and polycythemia and something about diverticulitis and the work massive next to it. Difficult to read the last part. Source: Certificate of Death for Ellen Elizabeth McDonald, May 10, 1947, #188, Reg No. 189, Yakima County, Washington
Miss Ellen McDonald, Obituaries:
Obituaries: McDonald – Miss Ellen Elizabeth McDonald, 75, died last night in St. Elizabeth hospital. Born in Quebec, Canada, she had lived in the Yakima district 10 years. She is survived by three brothers, Ronald of Yakima, and Alexander and John of International Falls, Minn; four nieces and two nephews, all of Yakima. Langevin-Meyer has charge of funeral arrangements. Source: Yakima Morning Herald, Friday May 9, 1947, pg. 18, Yakima Public Library, Yakima, WA.
Nellie is buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Yakima, next to Ronald, her brother. Years later her niece Miriam and nephew Ronald (Gordon) would be interred with them. Miriam held Nellie in great esteem.