about (may_ellis)
May Ellis
Born February 18, 1894
Died July 24, 1988 (age 94)

May Ellis Park & Old Wimer Covered Bridge

May Ellis – Community Projects

Letter by Janice Emde:

May began life in Wellsville, MO born to Alice and Charley Adams. Their small farm supplied all the basic necessities of life. What the garden and row crops didn’t supply the nearby woodland usually did. There they would find wild berries, nuts, and edible plants in abundance.

May was proud of her Native American heritage and passed on to her children an interest in and an appreciation for the beauty found in the natural world that surrounded us. While growing up her happiest hours were spent outside helping her father or curled up in or under a tree with a book.

In her adult life May had a number of civic projects in which she enjoyed participating, but the one closest to her heart was Beautification. Rogue River and the Wimer community had become her adopted home. She could not do enough to demonstrate her pride in her community. She particularly liked working with the young people in the area. Together they cleared places to plant borders of flowers for all to enjoy. She hoped to pass on her enthusiasm to care for and enhance the land we shared.

When May and Hugh Ellis first moved to their place in the Wimer area they were encircled by forest. As the community grew more populated the space open for public use became less and less. May could see that at some point in the future the community would need a place to relax and reconnect with the natural beauty of our surroundings. By donating this land for a community park she hoped to fulfill that need for years to come.

By Janice Emde,
Grantor and daughter of May Ellis


Letter by Steve Hagan:

There are many forms of wealth; financial, intellectual, and spiritual to name a few. It is the combination of these resources that determine a person’s character and ultimately a person’s self-respect.

One method of building character is Giving Back through community involvement. An example of building character through community involvement is my Grandmother. She was quite the ‘character’. A strongly opinionated woman that worked tirelessly to beautify her community, her persistence (for never taking ‘no’ for an answer) was occasionally annoying to the local merchants, but her strength through character earned your respect, whether you liked her or not.

Her community involvement revolved around three community organizations. The first was the Rogue River VFW Ladies Auxiliary where she became chairwoman of the ‘Voice of Democracy’. She was also a member of the Wimer Garden Club. But her primary achievement was the creation of School District #35 Beautification Committee in 1962. Her mission statement reflected the importance of family and community. This was “A program for and by the residents, comprised of both adults and youths working together, to beautify the area, help preserve our heritage from Mother Nature, to save pioneer sites, and to complete new projects each year which will enhance the environment.”

Four of her opinions to give a glimmer of her character were quoted by Denise Stanley of the Mail Tribune in 1979. She believed “It’s everybody’s responsibility to beautify the community you live in.” When asked what motivated her projects, she responded “It’s just like looking at a home and how it’s furnished.” She also believed “Mother Nature contributes about everything we live on, not just beauty, but sustenance as well.” But her main belief through example (the one that influenced me the most) was “If you want something and know your right, you just keep working until you get it.”

Her persistence and strength of character left its mark on her community to this day. Two of her most visible contributions were: the commissioning of the carving of the Rooster in Rogue River, then eliciting donations to present it to the city through her Beautification Committee. Her other contribution was the donation of 6.9 acres for a much needed park in the Wimer community.

My Grandmother, May Ellis, though not a financially wealthy woman, achieved her ‘immortality’ through strength of character and community involvement.

May Ellis was 4′ 10″, and a Dead Shot with a 22 rifle.

By Steve Hagan,
Grandson of May Ellis


Letter by Bill Markham, Representative
Salem, Oregon

about (Letter_by_Bil_ Markham)


School District #35
Beautification Recognition:

about (Beautification_recognition)

about (statement)


June 29, 1988
Article about May Ellis

about (page1)

about (page2)