Floral 18

Ellen Dora (Raschke) MacDonald

January 30, 1933 ~ November 13, 2021 (age 88)


Don’t live today as if it is your last day ... live IN today as there won’t be another one just like it. That is what I, Ellen MacDonald – known to my family as Dodie – want you to know as I finally am blessed to join my “immortal beloved”, Neil MacDonald, and the rest of my family and friends in the realm of life everlasting.


I only have a few memories of Sand, Texas, where I was the last child born to Henry and Hermine (Wenke) Raschke. More memories of living in the area around Lockett and Vernon, Texas, where my family – with us four kids – and Uncle Otto’s family – with eight kids – would have such great times together. These are what my sister Minnie and I collectively called our “Texas cousins.”


Recently, I thought a lot of Daddy moving us all up to Illinois around World War II for better job opportunities. Although Momma and Daddy would get the farming urge so strong, they would try it a couple more times and purchase farms in Missouri or in Arkansas before going back to Illinois where Daddy could earn enough money to support the family. We may not have had money, but we had many good times living IN those days, and I get a lot of enjoyment about remembering them all these years since.


I watched my big brother, Gene – who loved playing his guitar – get married, go off to World War II and come back somewhat changed and haunted. His first wife got annoyed by his guitar playing and so gave it up and drank instead. He divorced her and got married a couple more times. He helped give life to three daughters, but I don’t think he ever regained peace in his soul and happiness in his heart his music brought. I’m hoping to sit and tap my toes to his playing soon.


There was my oldest sister, Norma, who married and had two kids. Her first husband left her for another, then she would marry again and work even harder to support that man. She got older before she should have and died at 49. I’m hoping she finally had peace and am looking forward to asking her how she is.


My sister Minnie – who was so close to Norma when growing up. As kids they would look at photos and, if they didn’t like the way someone looked, they would bite the photo. Those indentations still exist on some of the photos. Minnie and I lived together off and on before I married Neil, but I never got on with her as well as Norma did. Minnie had several serious sweethearts, but somehow death or other things came in between them. One thing I can say for sure, she loved all her nieces and her one nephew as if they were her own. Nothing was more important to her than her family.


Recalling my various jobs and experiences. I worked at a soda fountain and would love to put an extra cherry on a sundae for the farm’s kids knowing how special it was to “come to town” and maybe a little more ice cream for those I knew didn’t have much – oh how warm my heart was seeing their big smiles! Working at the airport and getting to fly in small planes and watching the experimental “hobby” (death-trap?) aircraft come into the airport. I worked with computers before they were anything like they are today – having to program the machines with keypunch cards to get the outcome you wanted in a report and plugging wires in the correct places for the machine to crunch the numbers. I spent my time off-the clock learning how to run a computer because there wasn’t a school or classes to teach this back then – learning was all “on-the-job.”


I recall my daughter Lorie’s grandparents, George and Ida Gilliland, who spoiled their “little blue eyes” rotten. George said, when Lorie was born, that she would be my best buddy. He was so right! Many times, from early on until my last, I’ve told her “Just you and me, kid. Just you and me.”


Neil MacDonald – how to put into words how much he was and is the missing piece of my life. Our song was “Pack Up Your Sorrows” by Judy Collins. That’s what he did for me. Less than a year after our first date we got married in a church at the spur-of-the-moment with only our very good friends, Jim and Mary Kay Robinson, there to witness it. Neil was the man I had been waiting and longing for. He loved me. He loved Lorie. He was intelligent, caring, and he took care of us like no one else could. We shared almost thirty years together on this Earth and I’m sure looking forward to spending eternity with him.


We moved our little family to Denver, Colorado, for a job that, when we got there, no longer existed. But we loved hiking Mount Morrison and spent most weekends rock hounding in all the mining districts around the state. After a year we moved to Colorado Springs and truly loved our time there, although, financially, it didn’t love us back.


In 1975 we were off to Albuquerque where things finally worked out and, I love to tell you, there is no finer place to live. Beautiful land, weather and people.


We vacationed annually in Ouray, Colorado, hoping to retire there – or have a summer place there – but Neil’s health didn’t allow for that to happen. He was taken from this life too soon and my heart has ached for him every day since.


Each time Neil and I were in the mountains together, we looked toward the mountains to give us peace and respite from everything else going on. Breathing the crisp, thin air awakened our souls. The beauty of flowers above tree line giving splashes of color to the rugged granite refreshed our sight. I have longed to once again walk hand-in-hand among the rocks, trees, birds and animals sharing this God blessed experience with Neil.


I had waited so long for Neil to come into my life. I am finally joined with him again. We’ll listen to Beethoven, Bill Monroe, Judy Collins, the bagpipes, and toast with our Coors to German beer-drinking songs. We’ll break into “Don’t Cry for My Argentina” every now and then and feel whole in each other’s embrace. We’ll watch our Broncos play and scream at as loud as if we were attending the game in person.


To remember me – but not to mourn – I leave behind my dear daughter Lorie and her husband, Brian – I pray you have many years in good health together to see what is down each dirt road. Lorie, you know I’ll be the best guardian angel you could ever have! And I’ll be watching over you too, my Albuquerque daughter, Mardy – may you and your husband, Scott, feel contentment with each other for years to come.


I want my nieces Barbara, Lana and Beverly, my remaining “cousins in Texas” and many friends I’ve made through the years to know how thankful I am to have had you as part of my life.


Morning has broken like the first morning

Blackbird has spoken like the first bird

Praise for the singing, praise for the morning

Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rains new fall, sunlit from Heaven

Like the first dewfall on the first grass

Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden

Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning

Born of the one light, Eden saw play

Praise with elation, praise every morning

God's recreation of the new day

Morning has broken like the first morning

Blackbird has spoken like the first bird

Praise for the singing, praise for the morning

Praise for them springing fresh from the world

– Cat Stevens

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