Online Obituaries for the Troy, Royal Oak, Clawson & Shelby Township MI Area

Ellen G. Shambarger

October 06, 1920 - March 28, 2017

Online Obituaries for the Troy, Royal Oak, Clawson & Shelby Township, MI. area.

Ellen Grace Shambarger, 96, of Troy died March 28, 2017.

She is survived by her son, Otis "OJ" (Rhonda) Shambarger, 4 grandchildren and sibling, Betty Jean Clark (b. 9/10/1937). 

Ellen lived a full and long life.   She grew up in a very large family, often taking care of siblings since she was the oldest of 13 children.   After marrying Otis, she lived in a one bedroom home in Troy that they built themselves.   OJ was born in July 1943 and her husband Otis was deployed shortly thereafter, spending two years overseas.  Otis worked at Pontiac Motors and also farmed the land at their Troy home, raising produce.  Ellen’s specialties, however, were homemade pies, cakes and breads.   They would go to Royal Oak Farmers Market to sell their goods and people lined up early to get those baked products!   She also worked as a bartender and a cook at local Troy establishments. 

Otis passed away in 1963 and Ellen never remarried.  She had begun working at a tool and die shop and worked there for several years to support herself.   She was very self-sufficient.

Ellen loved her family and doted on her grandchildren.  Family get togethers were not the same without Ellen being there as the patriarch of the family.   Later in life, she became a surrogate grandma to many more children.  For 20+ years Ellen provided babysitting services for several local families.  She was still doing this up until around age 90!   So many of the families have said that Ellen was like a member of their own family and several continued to keep in touch after she transitioned to Sunrise.

Cooking and Baking were Ellen’s passions as well.   She made hundreds of kids’ birthday cakes.  She was known for her chocolate cupcakes because she made her own chocolate icing.   When she cooked, she made sure she had enough to share – especially home-made soup.   She loved fixing dishes for church dinners and reunions and holiday dinners.  

Ellen loved flowers and gardening.   Her home was surrounded by three large flowerbeds that she kept full of beautiful flowers.  She had a large garden in her yard for several years.   One year she planted 50 tomato plants – enough to feed the whole neighborhood!  Crocheting was another talent of Ellen’s and she most likely made over a hundred afghans over the years.

Ellen was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She sat in the doctor’s office and told him to just “give it to her straight”.  She decided to have a mastectomy because she wanted to “cut that stuff out of me”.   After the surgery and testing of the lymph nodes, they told her she had a 60% chance of reoccurring.  She had chemo and radiation.  Afterwards, Ellen was diligent about following up with her cancer doctor and taking care of herself.  She never did have a reoccurrence and was a 20+ year survivor!

Her sister, Evelyn, was her best friend.  They spent so much time together.  Evelyn was the person that got Ellen into babysitting.   When Evelyn got sick, Ellen spent the next two years taking her to doctor’s appointments and being by her side.  Ellen was selfless like that, always taking care of others. 

In 2005, Ellen’s brother Gerald was turning 75 and they were having a party in Lewiston.  We decided to make a weekend of it, so we took her to the Kewadin Casino in Soo Saint Marie the night before.  She was given some “free coins” to play on, so at 85 years old, it was the first time she had ever gambled.  After that, friends of hers told her about meeting at Meijer’s and they would be picked up by the casino bus to go to Canada for a day time gambling trip.  Ellen loved going on that bus and spending time at the casino.  She made friends in Canada as well.   They would each take items for lunch and then meet up to share them like a potluck lunch – because they wanted to save that money they gave the for lunch in the slots instead! 

Ellen fell once, breaking her femur bone.  After healing, she started water therapy.  She continued this for years after with a group at the Troy Community Center.   They would go to water therapy and then out to lunch.  These were special friends to Ellen.  She even appeared in a HAP commercial which was filmed while they were in the pool – with her head barely seen above the water!

Ellen belonged to Trinity Lutheran Church and she tried not to miss a Sunday service.  She would often pick up other parishioners at their home and they would go out to eat and she’d deliver them back safely.  She did this up until she could not drive any longer at age 92.   Once at Sunrise, she was unable to attend, but members of the church came to see her often and she would receive communion. 

Ellen was always a social person.   She never hesitated to stop to talk to anyone.  Sometimes a shopping trip to Meijer’s would take two or three hours as she randomly talked to others shopping and sharing recipes – including her icing recipe which she knew by heart. 

She had three wonderful years at Sunrise of Troy.   She met so many new people along the way.  Ellen enjoyed sitting out in the sunroom in “her chair”, watching the traffic and the people coming and going in the facility.   She thought the world of her caregivers.   She always said how wonderful they were and what a good job they did taking care of her and they loved her back.  She was known to give the best hugs!  She went on outings with the group, played bingo (winning those famous beanie babies), did her exercises, cut flowers for the dining room tables, participated in the sing a longs and much more!  She was active up until the very end.  

Lastly, for those of us that know her so well, she loved to be smartly dressed.  She was a classy woman.  She didn’t want to be without her makeup, or her lipstick on.  She had a wide selection of earrings and they had to match the outfit she was wearing.  She especially like the “dangling” ones.  And Ellen’s favorite color was pink.  

Funeral Information

Visitation for Mrs. Shambarger will be held on Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 10:00 A.M. until 12:00 noon at Gramer Funeral Home, Clawson, 705 North Main Street Clawson, Michigan 48017 248-435-9010. Funeral Service will follow at 12:00 noon at Gramer Funeral Home. Rev. Ken Fouty will be officiating the service. Burial will take place at White Chapel Cemeter, Troy, Michigan.

Donations Information

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
749 West Fourteen Mile Road
Clawson, Michigan 48017

and/ or

Kindred at Home
25925 Telegraph #102
Southfield, Michigan 48033


Visitation:  Gramer Funeral Home

Service:  Gramer Funeral Home

Cemetery:  White Chapel Cemetery

Ellen G. Shambarger


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Our family has used the services at Gramer Funeral Home on several occasions. The staff is consistently professional and compassionate. The staff also contributes to the community and they are very ethical people. You will be glad that you chose Gramer.