Ella Marie Hameister, age 20, died at home on May 24, 2021 after a short battle with cancer. Ella was born with the chromosomal disorder Trisomy 18, and after three days in the hospital was sent home with the expectation that she would only live a few weeks. Thanks to her strength and the best care any mother could provide Ella not only survived but thrived. She endured multiple back surgeries and long stays in the ICU for respiratory illnesses over the last 20 years, but even when in pain Ella was quick to smile and show she wanted to go home and live her life. Although nonverbal Ella loved engaging with people. It was easy to see she enjoyed visits from anyone who interacted with her. Visits from Grandma and Grandpa “Boo” and her Nana were especially cherished. She also loved music in all forms, especially nursery rhyme videos, books, light up musical toys, and her music therapy classes. Perhaps her favorite combination of these things was the musical laser light shows at the Barlow Planetarium.
At one time Ella loved to use a gait trainer to take short walks on her own. Later on in life she was a passenger for many walks with her parents and canine companions. Also, thanks to Make-A-Wish, Ella received a Duet Wheelchair bike, so she was able to be a passenger on many bike rides. Simply put, if Ella was outside, she was a happy girl. She was a member of Challenge the Outdoors and enjoyed their pontoon rides. The rides were never fast enough though as she was spoiled by a speed boat in her younger days! Her love of the water continued when introduced to the heated pool at the CP Center. It was very relaxing for her and provided quality time out of her wheelchair. Ella enjoyed attending school in both the Menasha and Kaukauna School Districts. Her time at school was limited due to illness concerns, but something she loved because she was able to connect with her teachers and classmates.
Ella is survived by her parents, Joe and Ann Hameister, grandparents Jim and Donna Hameister and her grandmother Mary Hill. She is further survived by her aunts and uncles Sue (Pat) Borree, Suzanne (Joe) Vosters, Nancy Freude, and Julie (Phil) Janssen. She was preceded in death by her grandfather Jim Hill and her uncle Bill Freude.
There will be a private funeral mass for Ella on Friday May 28, 2021 at 11:00 AM; friends and family can view a livestream of the service at the link provided below the obituary on the Wichmann’s website.
There is no way to possibly mention the many amazing people who have been so good to Ella and the family, but we would like to at least recognize several of them. We thank Amber from ThedaCare Hospice as well as Smith Pharmacy. In addition, we are grateful to Dr. Wendy Barton, her staff, and Children’s Wisconsin for focusing on Ella’s strengths, not just her deficits. We also want to recognize the Easter Seals “Mom’s Group” for being a great source of support and information. Finally, we would also like to thank Joe’s administrators and coworkers in both the Menasha and Oshkosh School Districts for always being so helpful and caring.