Cover photo for Florence Irene Ellison's Obituary
1923 Florence 2020

Florence Irene Ellison

September 19, 1923 — December 10, 2020

After a spirited 97 years, Florence Irene Shelley Ellison returned home on December 10, 2020. Irene was born on September 19, 1923 in American Fork, Utah to Edwin Ray and Nina Mae Jones Shelley. Five years later, she delightedly welcomed her younger brother, Merlin “Duff” Shelley. They were always close friends and made many great memories throughout their lives.

Irene often shared fond childhood memories of making taffy, wading in the ditch, learning to tap dance on a picnic table, sliding on the irrigation-slicked lawn, and being the champion roller skater.  Later she developed her love of and amazing “ear” for music. At the age of seven, she took piano lessons for about a year and stated, “It came fairly easy to me.” By 6th grade, she was accomplished enough to accompany others without practice.

Irene’s love of all things musical continued into her years at American Fork High School, where she enjoyed theater, played the French horn, and accompanied choral music groups. One of her favorite musical memories was accompanying Jessie Evans Smith, wife of the prophet Joseph Fielding Smith. She also loved reminiscing about her days as accompanist for her father’s musical duo, “Tab and Bun.” Her music continued to bless the lives of others, and well into her 95th year, she was still playing the organ in the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple.

In the 6th grade, she met the love of her life, William Ray Ellison. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on February 25, 1946, after Bill returned from serving in WWII. Their devoted courtship continued throughout their 60 years of marriage.

Irene maintained a faithful testimony of Jesus Christ and enthusiastically served Him in many ways. She was a passionate family historian. Her tenacity and ability to research in detail blessed others and her family in countless ways. After retirement, she and Bill served as ordinance workers in the Mount Timpanogos Temple. They also served together in the Auckland New Zealand and Provo Utah missions. She also loved her ward family and truly enjoyed the many wonderful friendships made there.

Irene and Bill were dedicated parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, showing their support at innumerable ballgames, plays, musical recitals, and special events. Irene was the life of the many family parties she hosted and loved to maintain traditions at the holidays with her family. She made certain to remember every family birthday and never missed sending Christmas gifts to each and every one of her 145 descendents.

Irene is survived by her brother: Merlin Ray (Duff) Shelley, children: Mary Ann Williamson, William Richard Ellison (Kristine), Ray Shelley Ellison (Janet), Sharlene Ricks, James Blaine Ellison (Beverly), Janet Lewis (Robert), 26 grandchildren, 76 great grandchildren, and 4 great, great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Ray Ellison, son-in-law, George I. Ricks, and great granddaughter, Elizabeth Gammon.

A viewing for friends, neighbors, and extended family will be held at the Anderson and Sons Mortuary, 49 E 100 N, American Fork, Utah on Tuesday, December 15 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. To accommodate COVID restrictions please see the SignUp Genius link below to schedule a time to attend.

Funeral services for Irene will be held on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, with a family viewing and prayer from 9:45 - 10:45 am and funeral at 11:00 am in the American Fork 23rd Ward Chapel, located at 680 N 350 W, American Fork, Utah. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the viewing and service at the church will be for family only.

Friends and neighbors wishing to attend the funeral can participate via live stream:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Florence Irene Ellison, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

Anderson And Sons Mortuary

49 E 100 N, American Fork, UT 84003

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