Obituaries: Mary Ellen Sandifer

BLAKESBURG-Mary Ellen Sandifer, 87, formerly of 205 S. Main St. Blakesburg, died at 2:25 p.m. January 11, 2020 at Hospice House in Ottumwa.

She was born March 20, 1932 near Farson, IA to Wayne Nathan and Doris Cleo Nelson Sylvester.  She married Donald A. Sandifer August 19, 1951 and he preceded her in death February 19, 2007.

A graduate of Farson High School and Parsons College, Mary Ellen taught at a country school and first grade at Blakesburg Elementary for a few years before becoming a full-time mother.  After her children were grown, she joined her husband, Don in owning and operating Sandifer Trucking out of Blakesburg.  She was the first woman to graduate from Indian Hills Community College Truck Driving School.

She had been a member of Blakesburg United Methodist Church, Blakesburg Garden Club, Blakesburg Historical Society and Friends of Blakesburg Public Library.  Mary Ellen enjoyed working in her flower garden as well as shopping and following her grandchildren’s activities.  Her true passion and commitment were always her family.

Surviving are two sons, Donnie (Cheri) Sandifer of Ottumwa, Dennis Sandifer (Stacey Hastings) of Blakesburg; a daughter, Caren (Jim) Claybrook of Moravia; a son-in-law, Jim (Tammy) Kosman of Ottumwa; 8 grandchildren, Jennifer (Mike) Mills, Lisa (Bill) Reece, Kelly (Shaun) Fritchey, Lora (Gary) Brons, Jason Sandifer (Lindsey Awtry), Jessica (Billy) Hughes, Lindsay (Niel) Cale and Joe (Kyleigh) Claybrook; 20 great- grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by a daughter, Cathy Kosman and a sister, Phyllis Clingan.

Funeral services will 10 a.m. Thursday at Reece Funeral Home with Pastor Mel Kendall officiating.  Burial will be in Blakesburg Cemetery.

Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday with the family present from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to Blakesburg First Responders or Hospice serving Davis and Wapello Counties.