Ella Jane Orr

May 15, 1923 ~ December 6, 2020 (age 97)


Ella Jane Feenstra Vliek Orr entered her Heavenly home Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. She was the only child born to Joseph and Alma (Bagley) Feenstra on May 15, 1923, in Decatur.

Ella went to Decatur schools, never graduating because she was needed to drive the tractor on her uncle Johnny’s celery farm during the Great Depression.

At the age of 17, she married Henry Dale Vliek, making Dowagiac their first home town as husband and wife. In between moving to four other towns, they finally settled in Keeler Township with their seven children and then delivered one more.

Ella worked at Bronte Winery, Burnette’s Canning Factory, and in the Hartford High School cafeteria.

Ella enjoyed sewing, knitting and crocheting for her family’s needs. She bowled at Sister Lakes Alley in a doubles league with Hank and sang in the Keeler United Methodist Church choir. She really LOVED traveling and shopping.

Ella’s family includes her children: Richard (Kathy) Vliek, of St. Joseph, Bonnie (Bob) Knight, of Niles, Sandy Schlieter of Hartford, Doris Vliek of Niles, Terry Vliek of Mattawan and Tammy (Ron) Ekema, of Kalamazoo. She was blessed with nineteen grandchildren; forty great-grandchildren; and ten great-great-grandchildren. Her family also includes two sister-in-laws, one brother-in-law, several cousins, nieces, nephews and step family.

Ella is preceded in death by a son, Ron Vliek; daughter, Shirley Flick; her two husbands: Henry Vliek and Douglas Orr; her parents; a grandson, Ron Lefevre; and a great-grandson, Matthew Doktor.

A family only celebration of her life will be Friday, Dec. 11, at The Church Keeler, 63627 Territorial Road, Decatur (Keeler). Any donations may be made in her name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, or to a charity of your choice. The family has entrusted the Calvin Funeral Home, Hartford, with arrangements. Those wishing to leave a memorial condolence may do so at

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