Martha Ellen Kirk, beloved wife and mother, 80, of San Angelo died Thursday, February 13, 2020, following a lengthy illness. A graveside service will be held on Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 11:00 AM at the Schleicher County Cemetery in Eldorado. A memorial and reception will follow at Harper Funeral Home at 2:00 PM.
Ellen was born in 1939 in San Angelo, Texas, to Chester Lucius Wheeler and Jeanette Henderson Wheeler of Eldorado. Her father and her grandfather, “Skinny” Wheeler, owned and operated a grocery store in Eldorado from 1934-1950. Ellen remembered that her grandfather always had a piece of candy for her when she came to the grocery. She often fondly recalled riding her tricycle around the courthouse and watching Saturday afternoon serials at the town theater with her lifelong friend, Ann Barker. Her mother's father, Tom Henderson, was a local rancher, and she grew up enjoying being with her cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents at his ranch. Though a young child, the effects of World War II on the small town of Eldorado and the adults surrounding her left a lasting impression.
She and her parents moved to San Angelo in 1950. After graduating high school, Ellen attended Texas Tech University, where she met her husband of 59 years, Wade Kirk. After marrying, Ellen and Wade departed Texas for the east coast, where Wade served as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. She recalled many happy times during their service, as well as the tense weeks surrounding Wade's deployment aboard a carrier blockading the island during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Ellen and Wade returned to Texas after discharge from the Marine Corps in order for Wade to pursue graduate education at the University of Texas at Austin. During this time Ellen became a mother to son, Mark. Upon completion of Wade's PhD, the family moved to Kansas, where Ellen pursued volunteer work and became an accomplished grower of African violets. She returned to Texas in 1978. Ellen and Wade retired to San Angelo in 2000 and cared for her parents in their later years.
Ellen was a devoted wife and mother and loving daughter. She was the center of her small family and was well-loved by her extended family. She had a special love for animals and rescued and adopted numerous cats through the years. She was particularly fond of her miniature dachshund, April. Ellen also had a tender heart for the elderly and infirm and volunteered for Meals for the Elderly.
Ellen was preceded in death by her parents and husband. Survivors include her son, Mark Kirk, daughter-in-law Jody Stock, and grandson Alec; sister-in-law Glenda Young and brother-in-law Bill Young.
The family would like to thank caregivers Ester Flores, Gloria Padilla, Tammy Holguin, Mandy Sosa, and Linda Saldana, and family and friends Ann Barker, Carla Hallman, C'Jay Vaughn, Martha Martin, Sammye Stone, and Sherry Kildow for their care and concern during Ellen's illness.
Should you wish to remember Ellen, her family asks that a donation be made to San Angelo Meals for the Elderly at [email protected] or (325) 655-9200, the ASPCA, or a charity of your choice.