Ella May Boice Fowlkes, 84, formerly from Carson City,
passed peacefully in her sleep on January 28, 2021, in
Mesa, Arizona. Ella was born in Oakland, California, the
second of three children born to Earl and Helen Boice.
Her mother, Helen, died of pneumonia when Ella was 41/2
years old, and she and her two siblings were admitted
to the Children’s Guild of the Ladies Relief Society in
Oakland, because her father was unable to take care of
them and work. In December, 1941, her father removed
them from the Relief Society Home and they moved to
Reno, Nevada, to live with their grandmother, her father
finding employment at the Club Cal Neva in Reno.
However, their grandmother was not able to take care of
the children, and in 1942, the Washoe County Welfare
Department admitted them to the Nevada State Orphans’
Home in Carson City. Ella was six years old, brother eight,
and her sister five.
Ella lived in the Orphans’ Home until she was 17 years
old, going to the old Carson Grammar School on Division
Street, and the old Carson High School on Thompson
Street. In 1953, when Ella was a junior in high school,
she and her boyfriend, Don Hessler, a Marine stationed at
Pickle Meadows, decided to get married. Because of her
age, she agreed to move to Nebraska to live with Don’s
parents until Don was discharged from the Marines in six
months, and then they started their marriage.
Ella and Don lived in Scottsbluff, Nebraska for 10 years.
They had 5 children-3 boys and 2 girls. After the loss of
2 boys and 1 daughter, they divorced in 1964. Ella then
moved back to Carson, with her 2 children, and then
returned to Scottsbluff in 1969, and in 1970, she met Jerry
Parker and they had a son, J.R. in 1972.
Then in 1986, she married long-time friend, Viron Fowlkes.,
Sr., and they moved back to Carson in 1995, and lived in
an apartment at the Southgate Senior Citizens’ Complex
on California Street. They enjoyed living there – had lots
of friends, and played bingo and other activities. But after
living in Carson for about eight years, they decided to
move to Phoenix, Arizona, to be closer to their families,
where Ella’s daughter Donella and son J.R. were living, as
well as Viron’s children. Ella and Viron lived together with
Donella, and had a happy life.
Sadly, Ella’s husband Viron passed away in December,
2013, her brother, Earl Boice passed away in 2004, and
Ella’s son Donnie Hessler passed away in 2016. Both Earl
and Donnie were residents of Carson City.
Donella lovingly took care of Ella as her health started
to fail. Ella had a hard life but also a happy one, thanks
to her family. She is survived by her daughter Donella
Hessler, her son J.R. Parker, her sister Bonnie Nishikawa
of Carson City, as well as numerous grandchildren and
Per Ella’s request, a small private graveside service will
be held for them at the McFarlin family plot in the Masonic
Memorial Gardens in Reno, Nevada, where Ella’s mother,
father, grandparents and other family members are buried.
We miss her, but know that she is now with all her loved ones.