1935 – 2017
On Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, we said farewell to our beloved “Swiss Miss,” Ella H. Wallace. She was 81 years old. Ella was a resident of Chugiak since 1960.
Our hearts are very saddened with her unexpected and untimely death.
She will be dearly missed by her family, friends and all that knew her.
Ella was born on July 27, 1935, in Zuhr, Switzerland. She came to Alaska in 1958 by bicycle with her childhood friends Ruth and Sonja with hopes of meeting Yule Kilcher in Homer. He had presented a slide show of Alaska in her classroom when she was 12 years old. From that day, she and her friends made their minds up to come to Alaska someday. Kilcher founded Kilcher Farm in Homer where the television reality show, “The Last Frontier” is filmed.
In 1958, while bicycling through Eagle River she crossed paths with another adventurous soul, Thillman Wallace of Chugiak. He later became her husband of 55 years. They were married on March 17, 1960, in Palmer, Alaska.
Her early life in Alaska was not easy. Many years were spent living in extreme conditions in a small shack without running water or electricity. Yet, she never complained but was grateful and content for what she had. Through the struggles of vandalism, arson and local grizzlies, Ella and Til homesteaded what is now known as Wallace Mountain and the Swiss Alps above Eagle River at the end of Skyline Rd.
She worked in the office of Wallace Construction – the company she and Til owned. This company later became Klondike Concrete in Chugiak. Ella worked at Bagoy’s Flower shop in Anchorage during the winters for many years. She was there during the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake and is featured in a photo depicting the shop below ground. She also filled in at local flower shops during busy seasons until just shortly before her death.
In 1968 they built their dream home atop a secluded mountain with a grand view.
Ella was kind, generous and loved all of nature and animals. She especially enjoyed all the different birds of Alaska and made certain that they had water and birdseed along with suet hanging outdoors no matter what the season was.
She contributed to many different charities including the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
She spent many hours in her personal garden. She knew the names of most flowers in both English and Latin.
Her hobbies included knitting, weaving, and sewing. She was able to knit a whole wool sock in an evening while watching her favorite television program.
Ella is preceded in death by Til Wallace, her husband; her parents – Marie and Ernest Hitz; and several other family members in Switzerland.
Ella is survived by Esther Tanner, a sister, and Rene Hitz, a brother, of Switzerland; Stephanie LeProwse, her daughter; Stacey LeProwse, son-in-law; Michael Wallace and James Wallace, her brothers-in-law; Aaron Dennis, Terry and Whitney Dennis, Tessa Dennis and Johanna LeProwse, grandchildren. Ella is also survived by one great-grandson, Eli Dennis, who is the son of Terry and Whitney Dennis.
There will be a Celebration of Life in remembrance of Ella. Please join us at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 25th, 2017, at Rivers Edge Studio (the old Fuji Gifts), in Chugiak, Alaska, at 17409 Old Glenn Highway located across from the Fire Station 31.
A reminder will be published prior to the date.
If you would like to donate towards the “Ella H.Wallace Memorial Garden” please contact Rivers Edge Studio for further information by phone at 907-351-3516.
Editor’s Note: This obituary written by Amy Armstrong in conjunction with Mrs. Wallace’s family. The ECHO News offers free obituary writing as well as no charge placement in our print and online editions.