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She grew up in the Crossroads community Trellis Dewhirst the daughter of Joseph Ellison and Joyce (Hailey) Ellison, was born May 8, 1909, in Douglas County near Crossroads, Mo., and departed this life Nov. 27, 2007 at the age of 98 years 6 months and 19 days.
Trellis Ellison Dewhirst grew up in the Crossroads community and had the privilege of attending the first demonstration school sponsored by what is now Southwest Missouri State University. After finishing eighth grade, she entered Ava High School and was graduated in 1927. Her mother had died the year before and she chose to stay with her father until his death in 1929.
She then entered SMSU in Springfield and went to college for two years before being hired to teach in a rural school in Ozark County at Souder. After two years at Souder, she was hired to teach the seventh grade in the Ava school system. Later she was placed in the high school where she taught business and girls’ physical education. Trellis received her bachelor of science degree in education in 1940, with departmental honors in business, which was her major.
Trellis helped organize FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) in the Ava school system and took students to six national conferences held all over the United States to compete in various contests.
Trellis was married to Wilborn “Bob” Dewhirst in 1932. During World War II Mr. Dewhirst took a job in Oak Ridge, Tenn. She took a vacation from teaching and joined him there. She describes that time as an exciting adventure in her life. She worked on the Manhattan Project for such companies as Ford, Bacon and Davis, and Carbide and Carbon Chemicals. First trained as a pipe inspector, she was soon transferred to the plant superintendent’s office as office manager. Trellis worked in that position until the end of the war and then learned with the rest of the world that she had, in a small way, been helping to build the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.
After returning to Ava, she resumed her teaching, and Wilborn, a life member and a certified judge on the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association, introduced her to what she describes as her most enjoyable hobby, riding a Missouri Fox Trotter.
Since 1974 she had been active with the Douglas County Library and was president of the board for some time. She is a member of Pi Omega Pi, a national honorary business organization. She was a charter member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club and was for two years the district director. She was a member of Chapter Iota Theta of the PEO Sisterhood. a philanthropic organization of women who own and operate Cottey College in Nevada, Mo. In 1950 she was initiated into Xi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International, an honorary society for women teachers.
Trellis was a life member of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Assoc. and Ava Saddle Club.
Trellis was preceded in death by parents, her husband, one brother, Cap Ellison, two sisters Una Ellison and Minnie Dean. She is survived by many, many friends.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in the Clinkingbeard Funeral Home, Ava, with the Rev. Marty Blakey and Rev. Oren Alcorn officiating. Interment will follow in the Ava Cemetery. Visitation will be Saturday, 9 a.m. until service time. Memorials may be made to the Douglas County Library.
On-line condolences may be made to www.clinkingbeardfuneral home.com.