We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Weeks' Dryer Mortuary
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4 NRSV)
Ella Louise Peele was born to Leslie and Ella Kipper on May 21, 1925. She passed away on December 23, 2021. When asked how it felt to be 96, she thought for a moment and said, “Looking forward to 97.” While the last two years of her life were difficult, the one constant throughout her life was her love for her family. She is survived by her children, David Bogue (Cindy), Kathy Bogue (Wes Stanton) and Bryan Bogue (Kalya); and her stepchildren, Doug Peele (Barbara), Mark Peele and Linda Tackett (Bob). She leaves numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren of whom she was very proud. She is preceded in death by her husband of 34 years, James Peele.
Louise was the youngest of four daughters. Her sisters Marjorie Hayes, Lesla Pattin and Ileta Bogue also preceded her in death. The Kipper family were pioneers in the Ohop Valley, and her greatest joy of childhood was spending summers at her aunt and uncle’s farm near Eatonville. In her later years she often talked about how she appreciated having had the experience of both city life in Tacoma and country life in Eatonville, where people worked hard and neighbors helped neighbors.
Louise grew up in South Tacoma. She attended Edison Elementary and Gray Jr. High and graduated with honors from Lincoln High School. She went on to graduate from The College of Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in French. Her father, a self-taught man who built several local businesses, had promised that if she maintained good grades he would make sure she could go to college. He died near the end of her senior year at Lincoln High School, but her mother honored that promise and paid her tuition to CPS. She was a member of the CPS Debate Team, where she learned to argue both sides of an issue. That taught her that she didn’t have to agree with both sides, but to understand and be open to their merits. She was a lifelong learner, always curious, always taking copious notes, always respectful of others.
After graduating from CPS Louise went to work for the Washington State Department of Public Welfare in Old Age Assistance. Thinking back on her time with Old Age Assistance she would often say, “What did I know about old age?” She quit working to raise her family after marrying Arnold Bogue in 1948. She returned to DSHS in the 1970’s as a caseworker in Developmental Disabilities and Child Welfare Services. In her work and her private life, she always said that to communicate with people you need to be a good listener. That allowed her to be more empathetic and really help people with the issues that were important to them.
Generations of family photos show common themes: Mt. Rainier and Puget Sound. Louise learned at an early age, from her perch in the hay mow on her aunt and uncle’s farm, to love the Mountain. A “Pilgrimage to Paradise” with Asbury Methodist Church was an eagerly anticipated annual event. As she raised her three children she enjoyed boating with the family to visit family and friends in the South Sound. She could convince anyone who would listen that there was no place in the world more beautiful than the Puget Sound region.
Louise was a member of Asbury United Methodist Church from childhood. There she met lifelong friends and was active in every aspect of church life. She taught Sunday School, served on the Missions Committee, was a devoted member of WSCS and UMW (women’s groups), and sang in the choir. Her daughter Kathy once asked her why she was a Christian, as opposed to Buddhist or Hindu or some other religion. Her answer was that she saw most other religions as looking more inward, and she appreciated that Christianity taught people to look outward and to serve others.
In 1979 Louise transferred her membership to First United Methodist Church, where she got to know her second husband, Jim Peele. They were married in 1980 and enjoyed more than 34 years together, until his death in 2015. Theirs was a happy, companionable life together, filled with family, friends, and travel. While their life experiences had been dissimilar in many ways, each expanded their sources of joy with each other. They particularly enjoyed traveling the country in their VW camper van and traveling the world with church or Elderhostel tours. Her shelves were lined with scrapbooks of her travels, mostly containing postcards and brochures along with notes taken from guided tours, and a few pictures of their own.
Over the years, as Jim and Louise’s families grew, she loved meeting new grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Their greatest joy was watching the family enjoy being together at the Peele beach house on Harstine Island. Many gatherings of all sorts were hosted there by Jim and Louise: church groups; sibling reunions; even a few winter family dinners. Every year since their marriage, together and individually, they modeled a life of generosity and gratitude.
Louise was a selfless parent, a loving spouse, a gracious host, and a steadfast friend. As she advanced in years her memory began to fail, and by the time Jim died she was not able to live alone. We are thankful to the Assisted Living nurses and staff at Eliseo (Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community) for their care during the last 6 years of her life, and to the staff at Madison Manor Adult Family Home for their care in her final months. A special thanks to Franciscan Hospice for their care of Mom and of us during her final illness.
Even as her memory failed her, Mom always asked us how everyone in the family was doing, and did anyone need anything she could provide. She had a quick sense of humor her entire life and an ability to get to know people by asking questions and showing an interest in their lives. At both Eliseo and at Madison Manor, family members of other residents would remark to us about how much they liked and appreciated our Mom. Her smile did light up a room. Mom’s glass was always half full; every adversity became an opportunity to accept and grow. Her most common refrain in recent years, while remembering her life with family, was, “I’ve had a good life!” May it be so for us all.
A Celebration of Life will occur later in the Spring.