Ella’s favourite pastime and five-letter word… that is, if she was yelling it and not another participant. Each day of the week meant a new game in a different community and Ella didn’t miss many of them. She took the game seriously and always enjoyed coming out on the winning end… who doesn’t? In Ella’s world, happiness was yelling BINGO!
Ella Eileen was welcomed into this world by her parents, John Archibald and Ila Mary Luella (Walpole) McDonald on Monday, September 10, 1928 in Eastnor Township (on the Bruce Peninsula). She joined older sister Catherine “Kay” and was later joined by younger siblings, Bill, Marie, Leroy, Jack, Madeline, Jim, Frank, Joe, Sharon, and Dale.
After Ella’s birth, the family remained in Barrow Bay for a couple of months, before moving south to Chesley. The McDonald children were educated at Chesley Public School and Chesley High School. Upon graduation, Ella worked at the Silknet factory in Chesley with her mom. In the mid 40’s while roller skating, Ella was introduced to a young man by the name of Walter “Wally” Gordon Tibbo. The young couple dated for a couple of years before marrying on September 15, 1948 by the Justice of the Peace in Owen Sound. Their first daughter Betty joined them later that year as the family settled in Owen Sound. In 1950 the Tibbos moved to Hanover, and their family grew further with the arrival of Bonnie (1951) and Bob (1955). Chesley soon became home once again for Ella and her family became complete with the additions of Bill (1957) and Brad (1963).
As you can imagine life was busy for Ella, caring for her young family. She was the disciplinarian (if you think the Tibbo children needed that) as Wally was often busy with work. However, on a few occasions, I am told she used the famous line “you wait until your father comes home…” to guide her children in a different direction. She had eyes in the back of her head (where have I heard that before) and often confronted the kids on some of their poorer judgments. No matter the situation, Ella always gave you her honest opinion (even when it was not always wanted). Although stern (with her kids), Ella was a caring, loyal and fair mother who always put the needs of her family and children first… that is until the grandchildren started to arrive! 🙂
Once Brad was off to school Ella returned to the workforce and spent time at the butcher shop, restaurant, bakery, and grocery store in the years that followed. When she and Wally were able to enjoy a night out they often went dancing and were both active members of the Chesley Legion. Ella was also a member of the Legion Auxiliary and helped prepare countless meals throughout the years. In addition to her passion for Bingo, Ella enjoyed paper tolling and loved figure skating in her youth. She was known to collect spoons, bells, and … the occasional child! She enjoyed clothing, and could never have enough. The summer months were Ella’s favourite as she and Wally would regularly pack up and head to the trailer at Whispering Pines. This yearly tradition began in the mid 80’s and continued until 2015, a year before Wally’s death. One thing Ella was particular about was her hair. Her hair appointments were every Friday in the winter, and Thursday in the summer (so they could get to the trailer sooner), and they were always booked around the airing time of “Days of our Lives.” In later years she enjoyed a variety of game shows in addition to her daily soap routine.
Ella loved spending time with her grandchildren and later great-grandchildren. Countless stories were told of times hanging out with grandma at the trailer or spoiling the kids one-way or another. She was a fabulous cook and baker. Some of her family’s favourites included her butter tarts, pies, homemade relish, and Ella’s pigtails… I am told they were fabulous.
In 2010, Ella and her family started to see signs of dementia setting in. Wally took the lead and along with help from his family was able to care for Ella at home. Unfortunately, in 2013 the toll of this care became too much and Ella soon called Parkview Manor home. A few years later, she was reunited with her younger brother Jim, and together they enjoyed each other’s company. The staff and fellow residents became a second family to Ella and she could often be found roaming the halls in her wheelchair. Sadly, her health declined rapidly in recent days and she passed away on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in her 93rd year.
Loving mother of Betty (Jr.) Steeves of Moncton, N.B., Bonnie Kunkel of Bright, Bob (Trish), Bill (Sandi) and Brad (Jayne), all of Chesley. Ella will live on in the hearts and minds of her twelve grandchildren, nineteen great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandson, brother Jim McDonald and sisters Madeline Sedor and Sharon (Ted) Loughlean. She will be dearly missed by her sisters-in-law Joyce McDonald, Shirley McDonald, Carma McDonald and Marg Kerr. Ella was predeceased by her husband Wally (2016), son-in-law Hank Kunkel, a grandson, a granddaughter and siblings, Bill, Frank, Joe, Dale, Leroy, Jack, Marie (in infancy) and Kay Vancise.
A celebration of Ella’s life will be held at a later date when it is safe to do so. Inurnment in Chesley Cemetery.
If desired, memorial donations to the Alzheimer Society or Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.