Lela Eleanor Ishmael, 92, passed away on May 16, 2019 at Monterey Park Health Care Center. She was born on August 27, 1926 near Wheatland, Missouri the daughter of James William and Celia Agnes (Davis) Payne. Lela Eleanor was married a short time to Donald Gafken and had one daughter Donna Ann (Gafken) Middleton.
Growing up she was known as Eleanor by family and friends. She was called Lela by her coworkers at Safeway Grocery Stores where she worked for 40 years. She met her future husband, Arthur Leon Ishmael, through work and so Lela became her name for new family and friends after she and Arthur were married in 1957. They lived in Northeast Kansas City, Missouri until retiring to Warsaw, Missouri in 1984. After Arthur’s death, she moved to Independence, Missouri to live with her daughter. Eleanor was a lifelong member of the Spring Branch Church of the Brethren in Avery, Missouri. She often told the story of being baptized in the creek near the church around the age of 12. Most recently she attended Glenwood Park United Methodist Church in Independence before moving to Monterey Park.
Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur Ishmael on February 21, 2008.
Eleanor is survived by her daughter, Donna Middleton; five grandchildren, Reynold (Elizabeth) Middleton, Rachelle (Dave) Cornelius, Renee (Chris) Bussen, Roxane Hager, Ryun (Tricia) Middleton; 9 great-grandchildren; 3 great-great-grandchildren; as well as many friends and cousins including Kailyn and Eric McMillin who were like grandchildren to her.
Cremation. A Celebration Of Life Service was held Saturday, June 1, 2019 at the Dickey Funeral Home, Harrisonville, Missouri with inurnment in the Orient Cemetery, Harrisonville following the service.
Family suggests memorial contributions may be made to Asana Hospice, Kansas City, Missouri.