Life Story / Obituary
Ella Mae Cross-Phillips, age 88, died peacefully at Vista Springs Holland Meadows, on Monday, January 9, 2023.
Ella, affectionately known as Ms. Ellie, was born in Wiona, Tennessee to Silas and Lucinda Lawson on December 31, 1934. There in Scott County, she met her first husband (Lebard Cross). Lee brought his young bride to Ypsilanti, Michigan. Ella and Lee’s first daughter, was born soon after. In 1953, they settled in Holland, Michigan where their other three children were born and raised.
Ella was known as a sweet and kind woman of faith and ever-encouraging matriarch. Her door was open for all, which was true to her roots of southern hospitality. Her home became the hub of her sisters’ families, her children’s friends, Lee and Jeff’s musician friends and for many years a home of Christian fellowship and Bible studies. Ella lived some time in Paducah, KY where she eventually met and married her 2nd husband. Upon his passing, she returned to Holland where she continued to reside.
Ella was a selfless woman who had a fulfilling and busy life. She was employed as a private Caregiver most of her working years. Her artistry was evident in her endless hours of crocheting, which later declined to simple lap warmers. She also had a passion for doll collecting. Ella was a tireless mother that gave her love for all. One of Ella’s most often recalled childhood memories was that of walking to church with her mother and her baptism in the Winona River.
Ella’s memories will be dearly held by her daughters, Marsha Jo (Jack) Hall of Fennville MI, and Pam (Steve) Wallace of Holland MI; granddaughters, Sara (Tom) Harris, Chani Pearl Washington-Tan, Brandy Walters, Lea Nyland; great grandchildren, Julian Ly; Aniah Tan; Elizabeth Walters; Kylee Walters; Andrew Osterbaan and dozens of nieces and nephews, many of whom “Auntie” became as a second mom; Sister In Law, Penny Seabolt Lawson.
In addition to her parents, Ella was preceded in death by two of her four children; Kathy Bouwman and Jeff Cross; first husband, Lee Cross; second husband, Captain James T Phillips; brothers, Eldridge Lawson, JC Lawson, Bobby Lawson, Donald Ray Lawson, Earshel “Pete” Lawson; sisters, Beulah Lawson, Frankie Van Raalte and Minnie Pemberton.
A time of visitation will be Monday, January 16, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm at Dykstra Funeral Home - Mulder Chapel (188 W 32nd St, Holland, MI).
A funeral Service honoring Ella will be held on Tuesday, January 17, at 11:00am, at The Chapel at New Richmond (3142 57th St, Fennville, MI). A graveside service will follow at East Saugatuck Cemetery. Upon returning to the Chapel a light lunch will be served.
Funeral arrangements are under the auspices of the Mulder Chapel.