Floral 15
Official Obituary of

Ellen M. (Overson) Stey

May 26, 1944 ~ February 21, 2024 (age 79) 79 Years Old

Ellen Stey Obituary

Ellen M. Stey, 79 of Elkhorn, WI, passed away peacefully, but unexpectedly, on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, in her home.  Born May 26, 1944, in Lena, IL, she was the fourth of ten children to her parents, the late C.D. and Ellen (Larsen) Overson.

Ellen had a fascinating, fun, and adventurous life.  After high school, she attended UW-Madison for a year, where she also was a beauty queen, winning the Miss Madison beauty pageant, and later, 2nd runner up in the Miss Wisconsin pageant in 1963. From there, she attended United Airlines Stewardess School, and then began her career as a flight attendant in 1964.

Ellen met her future husband, Lee Stey, on her first working trip as a flight attendant, while both were employees of United Airlines.  They were later united in marriage in 1966.  Due to airline rules in that era, Ellen was forced to leave the airline a year later, when it was discovered that she was married.  She then stayed at home to raise her son and step daughters for the next 14 years, living in Camarillo, CA from 1966 until 1976, and then primarily in Elkhorn, WI from 1976 on.  

In the early 1980’s, she reentered the workforce after earning her Wisconsin real estate license, focusing her attention on the beautiful properties at Lauderdale Lakes, near Elkhorn. In the mid 1980’s, Ellen returned to work for United Airlines as an international flight attendant and Purser, traveling all over the world until her retirement in 2009.

Known and loved by her numerous friends and family for her intelligence, beauty, wicked humor, fierceness, morality, amazing generosity, compassion, and zest for life, she was a true matriarch to her family.  She was someone who was always available to family and friends for counsel, comfort, or a shoulder to cry on. 

And then there were the celebrations… Many, many celebrations. Ellen enjoyed planning and hosting countless festivities at her beautiful home on Lauderdale Lakes.  From her annual 4th of July parties, several graduations, epic birthday parties, weddings and receptions, numerous family reunions, and so many holiday gatherings, there was continually life, laughter, and joy in Ellen’s home.

A life-long voracious reader, Ellen adored her local library and read several books per week – favoring mystery, adventure, and history.  She had always had a deep affinity for English history and when the opportunity arose to live and work as a London-based flight attendant in the early 1990’s, she leapt at the opportunity and then spent three enjoyable years there, continually welcoming friends and family to her delightful apartment near Kensington Palace and serving as travel guide to her favorite parts of England.

Ellen had a deep love and passion for animals, far beyond that of most people. She loved her dogs and cats beyond measure and treated them as family.  She proudly told the story of when she rescued a family of baby squirrels abandoned by their mother, fed them with an eye dropper, and nourished them until they could survive on their own in the wild. Just as her friends and family will never forget her, those baby squirrels remembered the life-saving attention of Ellen Stey and continued to return to her kitchen door to collect walnuts from her hand every day for the rest of their lives.

She will truly be remembered with love and joy by all those who had the blessed opportunity to know her.

Ellen is survived by her son, Richard Stey, two step-daughters, Leslee (Phil) Casey, Noelle (Erich) Lauer, five grandchildren: Stephanie (Chris) Sandoval, Jacob Stey, Callen (Andrew) Wilson, Megan Colletta, and Alex Colletta, two great-grandchildren: Maxwell Sandoval and Magnolia Colletta, seven siblings: David (Joan) Overson, Kathleen Pruzek, Camille (Keith) Stelter, Charlotte (Ron) Hensler, Bea Laine, Susan Overson, and Barbara (Brian) Nash, and dear friend, Ann Kerwitz and family.  She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Lee, and two brothers, Bruce and Mark Overson.

A private Celebration of Ellen’s Life will take place at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, a donation to Lakeland Animal Shelter would be greatly appreciated.  Online guest book at www.haaselockwoodfhs.com .

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Private Celebration of Life


Lakeland Animal Shelter
PO Box 1000, Elkhorn WI 53121
Tel: 1-262-723-1000
Web: https://lakelandanimalshelter.org/


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