Elnora Elizabeth Barry Shupe Scharf passed away Thursday, May 1, 2008 in Fruita, Colorado. She was being cared for at Family Health West for the past three years.
Ella was the second child of four, born in Caldwell, Idaho to George William Barry and Natalie Elnora Baker on Feb. 27, 1919. They lived there until she was about 11 years old, then her parents moved in 1930 and homesteaded in Eastland, Utah.
When she finished her education she went to work at the Scorup Ranch in Indian Creek, where she met and married Bill Shupe on Feb. 10, 1941. They resided there for a while and then moved to South Mesa on the La Sals to raise hay for the ranch. They next moved to Moab.
Bill passed away on Oct. 9, 1947. To this union were born five children: Lorraine (Gene) Huddleston, of Snowflake, Arizona, Natalie (Jim) Green, of San Antonio, Texas, Bill (Chris) Shupe of Absorkee, Montana, Dan (Sherry) Shupe, both deceased, and Bob (Janice) Shupe, of Moab, Utah. She was also blessed with 23 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.
In 1973, Jim Scharf became her life companion. He brought one daughter and four grandchildren into her life, and one sister, Gail (Jim) Richardson, of Moab. She also had one brother-in-law, Eben Scharf, and one sister-in-law, Margaret Oviatt, both deceased.
Ella was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Bill Shupe, son, Dan Shupe, daughter-in-law, Sherry Shumway Shupe, one grandson, Gary Shupe, two brothers and two sisters-in-law, Bob (Leota) Barry and George (Lorraine) Barry.
Ella will be most remembered around Moab as “the best babysitter.” She took care of many children over a 50-year period. She loved children every day of her life.
One of her favorite hobbies of all time was her flower garden. She shared many plants and flowers with anyone who was interested. At Mother’s Day, she gave flowers to her grandchildren to give to their mothers each year. Memorial Day soon followed and she had plenty of flowers to share, which were mostly for the pioneers that settled Moab (her children’s ancestors). She and the kids spent every summer in Eastland with her folks helping farm and garden. After her parents passed on, she grew a garden and grapes and loved to can grape jelly and all the vegetables for the coming winter.
During the winter, she played solitaire, hand-sewed and read many pocket books that she shared with the neighbors. They were a close-knit neighborhood, trading stories after walking to the post office and stopping by for coffee. She also spent time with the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, helping to quilt throughout many years.
You could catch her walking around Moab. She walked to do all her shopping and paying her bills so everyone knew her and her friendly, outgoing personality. She never got her driver’s license – although that’s not to say that she never learned to drive. She did take driver’s education one year. One time she was out at the old airport practicing her driving and was practicing backing up. She was headed for a large streambed and her unprofessional assistant was laughing so hard, she couldn’t tell her to hit the brake and over the bank they went, and sure enough, they got stuck.
Another time, she was helping to change the tire on a car out by Crescent Junction. When the flat was taken off, Ella just rolled it off the highway and it rolled several hundred feet. She just thought you threw away the carcasses, as they were always by the roadway. She had to help retrieve it so it could be repaired or at least save the wheel.
The grandchildren remember how she smelled and felt – soft and clean. She sang to them and read to them and entertained them with stories of her life in Moab.
Ella never knew a stranger. You could take her anywhere in the United States and she would just start visiting with people as if she had known them for years. She loved traveling and seeing new places. She never got to visit Maine, but she always wanted to. She did go back east when she was a teenager and visited her dad’s family. She also traveled to Georgia, Texas, New York, North Carolina, and Kansas, and a few other places while visiting Natalie and her family. She enjoyed visiting the historical sites and battlefields while back east. The plants and flowers were intriguing to her and she liked studying them.
We never knew how many arrowheads Ella found, but she sure liked to hunt for them (still walking). She enjoyed the hunting season in the fall, not so much for the kill, but mostly for the walks in the woods and the time spent with grandchildren and friends, the evening drives, and even the meat, if Jim were lucky enough.
When the grandkids were in middle and high school and too old to need a babysitter, she would fix lunch for them and she and Jim would try to teach them some table manners and listen to how everything was in their teenage worlds. Her tradition should be carried on.