Mrs. Ella Working is the oldest church member of Palm Bay Baptist Church.
Ella Working turned 100 years old on December 16th, 2015. The church hosted a SURPRISE birthday party for her on Saturday, November 28th at 12:00 noon with a luncheon that followed the opening celebration. The fellowship hall was decorated in her favorite color, red, and guests were also dressed in red to honor her. The party was attended by family and friends, and Miss Ella was surprised by a visit from Palm Bay’s mayor, William Capote. She received acknowledgement from Governor Rick Scott and a proclamation was issued by the Brevard County Commissioners in her honor. She received more than 100 birthday cards!
Miss Ella has had many wonderful experiences in her life, and she is still active, though frail. She has accomplished at least three of the items on her “bucket list” in the last five years. On Miss Ella’s 95th birthday she rode in a helicopter up in Titusville. Just last month on Saturday, February 27th some of her out-of-town family and local friends took her on an airboat ride at Camp Holly Airboat Rides. They were there to support and encourage Miss Ella in accomplishing another of her bucket list items. In the evening Miss Ella was treated to a delicious dinner at Makoto’s in Melbourne. She enjoyed the flaming dinner show, and it was her first time eating Japanese food!
Miss Ella was born Ella Viola Plummer Dec. 16, 1915 at home near Grover Hill, Ohio. Her parents were Eric and Almetta Plummer (nee Money). They had two children, Wilma Violet born in 1910, and Ella Viola (1915). Wilma married Cloyd Zuck, and they had 6 children of whom 4 lived into adulthood. When Ella was 17 months old the family moved to a farm near Grass Lake, Michigan. Miss Ella’s father was a tenant farmer for the J. B. Rice Seed Company.
When she was in second grade they moved to a house in Grass Lake. Her earliest memory was when she was only 3 years old. She had quite a knack for memorizing things at an early age, so at age 3 she remembers visiting her sister’s school and reciting a poem. She also saw an older boy playing Santa Claus, so she never believed in Santa growing up. She still recalls memories from World War I including songs and ditties that were sung around that time.
When the seed company failed, Miss Ella’s dad found work in town. One day when they were away from home someone came running to tell them that their house was on fire! From where they were it sure appeared to be so, but it turned out to be their neighbor’s house.
After Miss Ella’s grandfather passed away her Grandma Money moved in, so they could care for her. During this time her father managed to save up enough to buy a mahogany player piano and Miss Ella fell in love with it. She took piano lessons starting in sixth grade. She excelled in school and was the valedictorian at her high school graduation. Although she didn’t attend college upon graduation, she later took several community college classes in advanced tailoring, creative writing, piano keyboarding, and sign language.
In addition to playing the piano Miss Ella has enjoyed reading, sewing, writing poems and songs, and memorizing funny stories.
Before Miss Ella was married, she worked earning 3 cents per quart picking strawberries, and 25 cents per night for babysitting (50 cents if it went past midnight)! When she met her future husband, she was working for a drug store earning $1.00 per week.
When Ella met Dana Edward Working (everyone called him Ed), she was immediately attracted to his baritone singing voice. Their first date was to the movies. They married on June 4th, 1937 (on Ed’s birthday). They began their married life in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
They attended church in Grass Lake, Michigan. They had two children. Don was born Jan. 16, 1940, and Jean was born December 19, 1941. Ed was a good provider for his family. Their grocery bill was $4.00 per week which they supplemented with fresh eggs and produce from Ella’s parents’ farm. In 1941 a job opened up for Ed selling soft drinks and beer in Jackson, Michigan, so they moved there. Ed felt convicted about being a Christian and selling beer, so as he was wrestling with trying to find a new job, WWII broke out, and the company he worked for went out of business. God provided for them almost immediately. Ed became a security guard at Clark Equipment Company, and retired from there after more than 30 years! His insurance from that job has provided for Miss Ella’s medicines for all these years! After Ed began work at Clark, Miss Ella realized that she was too “country” to want to raise her children in the city, so the family bought a “big, old” house in the country (near Napoleon) for $4,000.00. The family attended Napoleon Baptist Church, and it was during that time that Miss Ella realized her need for Jesus! Even though she had attended church for years, God made it clear to her that there was more that she needed, and she received Christ as her Savior and Lord!
Miss Ella and Ed were involved in starting a new church near Napoleon, Hope Baptist Church. Miss Ella became involved in creating a ministry to the Deaf after one of the church members introduced her to the idea. She visited the Bill Rice Ranch in Murfreesboro TN which has a well-known Deaf ministry. She learned sign language and was able to interpret the sermons at the church. At least one of the Deaf men was saved as a result of Miss Ella’s ministry!
Miss Ella held a variety of jobs over the years. In addition to raising her children, she worked in factories, and service industries, at a quarry and doing accounts payable. When her husband retired in 1973, they cared for Ella’s elderly parents until they passed. Ella’s mother lived to be 98, and her father passed at 100!
In the late 1970’s Ella and Ed enjoyed a lifelong dream of travelling around the country in a camper that they pulled behind their Cadillac.
Ed and Miss Ella eventually bought a mobile home in Mims, Florida, in 1979, and attended First Baptist Church there. In 2001 they moved to Palm Bay where they joined Palm Bay Baptist Church.
Ed passed away on May 24, 2004, just shy of their 67th wedding anniversary!
Even though her husband and children have passed on, Miss Ella has assurance of seeing them again, because each of them were saved as well, and are waiting for her in heaven!