Ellen A. Hohneke, 90


Ellen Adline Hohneke, farmer's wife, teacher, cook, adorer of children and cats, shopper extraordinaire, and rhapsodist of life stories passed away on May 30, 2024 at the age of 90 years.

Ellen liked telling stories on the phone (at great length), telling stories in person (at even greater length but with the addition of exaggerated expressions and gestures), keeping her husband Ralph in line (apparently a daunting task to which she remained obsessively vigilant) and flowers.

Ralph and Ellen were married on Aug. 14, 1955. Shortly thereafter Ralph joined the Army. Ellen was a typist for the Army while Ralph was enlisted. According to her they lived in a house that sat between the two main train tracks that went from Washington D.C. to Florida and trains went by all hours of the day and night.

After the Army, Ellen and Ralph came home to farm - farming being the origin of many of Ellen's stories. Each year Ralph would round up a crew to chop/haul silage. Ellen became responsible for feeding dinner to the crew. Thereafter the nickname "Cookie" or just "Cook" was given to Ellen - a name that stuck for the rest of her life. She would sometimes say that in those days she had to cook dinner for "x" number of people - where "x" seemingly became a larger number every time she told the story. Her gravy became well known and loved within the family. She just tossed together the ingredients (never followed a recipe or measured anything) and voila...delicious gravy

Ellen also liked to tell stories about Ralph's cattle (a perennially rebellious herd). Stories included the number of times someone called and said there were cattle out on the highway and she had to go and get them in (admittedly a regular occurrence), and the times Ralph got a crowd together to drive cattle from one pasture to another that may have been a dozen or more miles away. During those drives she said she was told to stand in places to keep the cattle from ruining people's yards and gardens. She said Ralph always put her in a place she couldn't possibly cover and the cattle got in the yards anyway.

Ellen's rolodex of stories included the time she fell asleep driving to Minnesota and woke up driving 70 mph through the ditch with weeds flying over the hood, the time she went through an automatic car wash with the windows down, the time she fell out of a bunk bed wearing purple pajamas while on vacation with her daughter's family and was said to have "looked like a purple streak" as she headed towards the floor, and the time she accidentally locked herself in a bathroom at Windsor Castle. These are but a mere sampling of her stories.

Ellen obtained her college degree when she was in her 50's. She was very proud of graduating from college and became a substitute teacher and then a full-time teacher for many years. When she would ask a student a question and they would say "Hang on!" she would reply "I am not hanging from a seven-story building!"

She doted on her grandchildren. After grandchildren arrived, the stories about her life decreased and the stories about her grandchildren took center stage. Regular drives were made to Minnesota to visit her grandchildren there and she regularly visited her grandchildren in Council Bluffs.

Ellen is survived by her husband, Ralph Hohneke; brother, John Tornkvist; daughter, LynMarie (Randy) Berntson; son, Mark (Suzie) Hohneke; grandchildren, Bjorn Berntson, Anna Berntson, Madeline Hohneke, Nicholas Hohneke, many nieces and nephews, and numerous friends.

Please join us to celebrate Ellen's life and share stories about Ellen at a visitation at Hoy Kilnoski Funeral Home from 5-7 PM on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM at Hoy Kilnoski Funeral Home on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. Interment will be in the Grange Cemetery.

Although Ellen did like flowers she really enjoyed teaching. In lieu of flowers or as a memorial the family asks that you consider a donation to Honored, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping great teachers in the classroom and to inspiring a new generation of talent to pursue teaching.