Ella Katherine Petersen was born March 10, 1914, on the family farm in Washington Township, rural Merrill, the daughter of Jens and Emilie (Wettstadt) Petersen. Ella was baptized and confirmed at St. John's Lutheran Church in Merrill. She attended country school near her home and graduated from Merrill High School in 1933.
Following high school, Ella attended Western Union College in Le Mars where she received her teaching certificate.
Ella was united in marriage to Leland "Shorty" Spies Feb. 16, 1935, in Sioux City. Ella and Shorty farmed southwest of Merrill for 37 years, retiring in 1972 and moving to Merrill. Shorty died Feb. 9, 1995.
Ella was a lifelong member of St. John's Lutheran Church, were she had taught Sunday School for several years and was a member of W.E.L.C.A. for several years. Ella enjoyed helping to coordinate church dinners and funeral dinners for more than 50 years.
She also enjoyed volunteering with the Plymouth County Historical Museum and the Floyd Valley Hospital Auxiliary for several years.
Ella always had a passion for growing flowers and plants, carefully nurturing plants through the winter months for summer planting.
Ella enjoyed quilting and knitting baby blankets for generations of nieces and nephews and for the Life Skills Annual Quilt Auction at the Plymouth County Fair.
Survivors include a sister-in-law, Margaret Spies of Merrill; several nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Jens and Emilie (Wettstadt) Petersen; husband, Leland "Shorty" Spies; two brothers, Herman and Albert Petersen; four sisters, Ann (Peter) Johansen, Amelia (Gene) Harrison, Clara (Ainsworth) Lang, and Emma (Phil) Hohmann; two brothers-in-law, Earl (Delia) Spies and Dwight Spies; and a sister-in-law, Fern Spies.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. John Lutheran Church in Merrill, with the Rev. Sarah Nye officiating. Interment will be at Hillside Cemetery in Merrill. Visitations will be after 5 p.m. Monday at the Carlsen Funeral Home in Le Mars with a 7 p.m. prayer service Monday evening at the funeral home. Visitation will continue Tuesday morning at the church from 9:30 a.m. until service time.
Pallbearers will be Doug Spies, Brad Klemme, Jeff Petersen, Scott Lauters, Gary Petersen, and Tim Petersen.
Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family through www.carlsenfuneralhome.com.