Our own Rosie the Riveter, Ellen Schoon of Keizer, peacefully passed away December 29, 2013, at the age of 97.
She was born in Corsica, South Dakota on April 2, 1916 to Simon and Lena Schoon, the youngest of 12 children.
Ellen grew up in Corsica on the family farm and attended a country school through the eighth grade. She left her small town for California just prior to World War II to work in the defense industry as one of the original “Rosie the Riveters.” Her tall frame and long fingers allowed her to reach into nooks and crannies to secure the bolts holding planes together. The Keizertimes featured her story in November 2008.
With the end of the war, she met and eloped on March 28, 1947 with Nelson McLoud, a WWII veteran and part of the Air Force. Ellen began the role of military wife, living on various bases throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. She and “Mac” had four children and most of the raising was left to her. She did this with a strong will, determined heart and profound faith.
With retirement, they moved to Salem in 1969 to finish the raising of children and to finally establish lasting roots in one community. She was an active member of Keizer Community Church, teaching Sunday School for 17 years, serving on various committees, working in the Keizer School District, preparing meals at the Senior Center and visiting the shut-ins, sick and elderly with her dear friend, Louise, until she was 95.
While of Dutch demeanor, Ellen was a gentle spirit who was comfortable serving in the background. Never needing public accolades, she let her actions speak of her strong faith in God. Everyone acquainted with Ellen knew of her passion for walking and she credited her long life to drinking a lot of water, clean living and the protection of her Lord, the “great physician.” She had four granddaughters and enjoyed their antics and sports.
Survivors include her husband Nelson; children, Don McLoud of Eugene; Dean McLoud of Salem; Doug McLoud of Long Beach, Calif. and Denise Lilley (Charley) of Reno, Nev. and granddaughters Kathryn, Clara, Caroline and Melissa Lilley.
A celebration of life was held Jan. 3, 2014 at the Keizer Community Church with private internment preceding. Arrangements were by Keizer Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services.