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Ellen Bilman passed away peacefully at home in Bakersfield, California surrounded by her loving family. She was 88 years old; born July 1933 in Lexington, Kentucky. Loved and predeceased by her 93-year-old father Frank C. Byers in 1998, her 92-year-old mother Dorothy Byers in 2003, and her younger sister Christine Byers in 2011.
Ellen had always enjoyed singing and swimming; and was in the Choir and on the Synchronized Swimming team in school. After graduating in 1955 with a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Kentucky, Ellen moved across the country to Hollywood, California. She met and married a handsome young Turk, started a family, and moved to the San Fernando Valley.
Fancying herself the bohemian, Ellen started to take classes in 1961 and learned to throw and sculpt pottery; spin and dye wool; weave; and make baskets. She also sketched and painted. She baked homemade bread, made homemade cheese, and cheesecake. She also sewed clothing, and wonderful dolls.
Always the free spirit and now an artist, Ellen worked and taught at The Muddy Wheel pottery studio and school. At The Clay Works, a production pottery manufacturer, she found her creativity hindered but still loved to throw pottery on the wheel. Later in her career she retired from Great Western Bank where she worked as a loan processor; still with the heart of an Artist.
Ellen was a devoted daughter who moved her parents into her house in 1995 and cared for them until their deaths. She spent her life and time taking care of the things she loved - her children, her parents, her many cats through the years, her art, her pool, and her dichondra lawn in her sunny front yard.
Over the years Ellen opened her home, with a welcoming heart, to family and many friends in need, helping them change their lives. In her retirement she enjoyed - her children and grandchildren, who visited when they could; doing crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles; cooking; volunteering at the homeless mission; Sunday shopping at the farmers market; and her lifelong passion as a voracious reader. She had a sense of humor that made people say that she was a “hoot” when she joked, which always made her laugh.
For over fifty years, Ellen was very pleased and proud to have her entire extended family and friends come over for Thanksgiving every year. After she moved to Bakersfield she continued this tradition. There, she was able to spend more time with her daughter and son-in-law, her granddaughter and family; especially her three great-grandchildren, of whom she was very proud.
Ellen was greatly loved by and is survived by - her two sons, David (Jane) and Joseph (Adele); her two daughters, Beryl (David) and Jennie; her two grandchildren, Jessica (Micah) and Louis; her three great-grandchildren, Naomi, Omari, and Isaiah; her nephew, Marcus (Eileen); her ex-husband, Besim (Patricia); her ex-brother-in-law, Jozef; and many family and friends – all of whom will miss her dearly.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers you consider a memorial donation to:
ASPCA - American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at
A memorial service is being planned.
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