On June 29, 1918 on a farm near Stroud, Okla., a tiny, bedimpled girl named Ella Mae Ruha Hyde was born to Morris Hyde and Martha Jane (Pruitt) Hyde. Ninety-nine years later on August 6, 2017, after having given those dimples plenty of use, Ella Mae left this life she loved for an even better one with her Lord and Savior.
Ella Mae was the first in her family to graduate high school, and then attended Central State Teachers College (now the University of Central Oklahoma), where she met and married John Clinton Port. That only garnered her an "Mrs." degree, but she determinedly completed her college degree later when her oldest son gained his.
In 1948, she and John and their two children, James Clinton and Carolyn Jean, went to Tehran, Iran, as the first missionaries sent out by First Presbyterian Church of Edmond. During their five-year tenure there, Ella Mae gave birth to Crystal Joyce and John Charles. Their son Jay Calvin was born after they returned to Edmond.
John Clinton died young, leaving Ella Mae with three children still at home. She remarried twice, first to C. A. "Andy" Willmon and then to Al Millar, both of whom also predeceased her.
Throughout her life, Ella Mae always worked hard, caring for her children, caring for babies in a clinic in Iran, gardening, cooking, sewing, quilting, crocheting, and teaching Home Economics and English in New Mexico and Oklahoma. Her main joy was her family and extended family, whose visits always brought a big smile to her face and a light to her eyes.
As a mother, Ella Mae set an incredible example of living what she believed no matter how difficult; loving well by putting others first and making sure everyone was invited/included/welcomed; being frugal without feeling deprived; making healthy foods taste delicious; and making new experiences into adventures with her spunky wit, joyful spirit, and determination.
Ella Mae was preceded in death by her parents, her stepfather Charles "Chuck" Spurgeon, her brothers Charles Eugene "Gene" Spurgeon and J. L. Spurgeon, her three husbands, her daughter Carolyn Jean Schlinke, sons-in-law Bennett Schlinke and James B. McGee, and grandchildren John Patrick Shade and Claire Jeannette Port.
She is survived by son James Port and his wife Tricia of Winterhaven, Fla.; daughter Crystal McGee DePue and her husband Dale DePue, sons John Port and his wife Mary and Jay Port and his wife Jenna, all of Edmond, Okla.; stepdaughter Mary Ann Willmon of Woodbridge, Va.; stepson Joe Willmon; grandchildren Heather Heminger (and husband Doug) and Heidi Port; Stephen Schlinke (and wife Brenda), Shawn Schlinke (and wife Terrell), Nathan Schlinke, and Laynie Llach; Jeannie Bath (and husband Forrest), Joseph McGee (and wife Diana), Jameson McGee (and wife Bridget), and Jordan McGee; Cathleen Tichenor (and husband Joe), John Clark Port (and wife Larissa), Jeffrey Port, and Colleen Port; Elise Nalley (and husband Nathanael), Jason Port, and Matthew Port; twenty-nine great grandchildren, and one great, great granddaughter (whom she got to hold on her 99th birthday) and many other extended family members and friends.
The family thanks the staff at Brookdale (Danforth) and Good Shepherd Hospice for their kindness to Ella Mae in her final years.
In lieu of flowers, the family hopes you will consider a donation to First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, noting "Missions, in memory of Ella Mae Millar" in the memo line. The church address is 1001 S. Rankin, Edmond, OK 73034.
A memorial service will be 2 p.m. Friday, August 11, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond.
Published on August 8, 2017