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Ellen Aylward

Ellen Louise Aylward

    Ellen Louise Aylward, 59, of Memphis, passed away Monday morning, February 15, 2021 at Van Buren County Hospital in Keosauqua, IA. She was born September 18, 1961 at Kirksville, MO, the daughter of Marion S. and Joanne (McLeland) Aylward.  She grew up on the family farm north of Arbela, MO, and attended Scotland County R-1 Schools, graduating with the Class of 1979. She continued her education at Northeast Missouri State University (Truman State), graduating cum laude in 1983. 

     Ellen was employed for 30 years by the State of Missouri as Secretary to the First Circuit Judge.  She retired on April 1, 2020 after serving as Secretary for Judge E. Richard Webber and later for Judge Gary Dial. She also served two terms as Scotland County Public Administrator. For several years, she was a partner in a catering business with her close friend, Donna Oilar. 

      Ellen had a special place in her heart for children, and she enjoyed being a surrogate aunt to numerous children over the years.  

She served several terms on the Scotland County R-1 School Board. She was an active member of SCAMP (Scotland County Association of Music Parents), helped organize the Scotland County School Foundation and served on the board.  

Ellen was a former President of the Scotland County Rotary Club.  She was a member of the Scotland County Fair Board for a number of years.

     Some of Ellen’s favorite things were cooking, sewing, and trivia games.  She was an excellent cook who enjoyed trying new recipes and feeding people. She used her sewing skills as the unofficial seamstress for the Scotland County R-1 music and band program   In high school she was a member of the SCR-1 College Bowl team. As an adult, she was a member of Team NEMO, a very competitive group that entered and won many trivia tournaments in the tri-state area. Ellen had many varied interests and was always ready to take on a new project of some kind.  

     Ellen’s faith was an important part of her life and helped sustain her during the long months of her last illness.  In her earlier years she attended the Mt. Moriah United Methodist Church in her rural community.  As a young adult, she was baptized at the Memphis First Christian Church by the Rev. Jim Estep. For the last several years Ellen was an active member of the Memphis First Baptist Church, where she was Hospitality Chairman and former church treasurer.  

    She was preceded in death by her father in October, 1979; paternal grandparents, John and Clarice Aylward and Lena and Melvin Strandburg; maternal grandparents, Craig and Marguerite McLeland; and an uncle, Dale R. McLeland.

     She is survived by her mother, Joanne Aylward, of Arbela; her brother, Michael Aylward, of Arbela; close friends, Donna Oilar and family, of Kahoka, MO; many other treasured friends and church family.

     A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. To honor Ellen’s memory, memorials may be given to the Scotland County School Foundation; to SCAMP for the SCR-1 band trip to Hawaii; or to the Memphis First Baptist Church for youth programs.        

     Online condolences may be sent to the Aylward family by signing the online guestbook at

     Arrangements are under the direction of the Gerth Funeral Service.