Ellen Mae Polacca

The life of Ellen Polacca started on May 5, 1938, and ended on April 2, 2022, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She was born to Julius and Freda Dietz on their farm in Ness County, Kansas. She worked outside with her father on the farm and developed a lifetime love of horses, cats, cars and the land. She graduated from Bazine High School then moved with the family to Holton, Ks, in 1956. She worked in the Jackson County Treasurer’s office until attending KU in 1958 as an art major. Her love of the arts continues on through her son, Ryun. After her time at KU, she worked for Hallmark Cards and the KU Library. In 1962 she met her husband and best friend for life, Tony Polacca. They were blessed with three children: Renae, Ryun and Terri. Her advocacy with Autism began with Renae’s birth in 1965 at a period of time when Autism was a new phenomenon. She was a tenacious pioneer in educating Lawrence and Kansas and developing programs for children with autism. In 1995 Ellen began working with the Lawrence Public Library as a cataloger and was the key player in converting the catalog system to an online computer system with her usual hard working and dedicated pleasant character.

Her most beloved jobs were mother, wife, and grandmother. She embraced her husband, Tony’s, Hopi culture and his love of the Haskell community. She devoted her life to Terri’s three children, Judson Rylie, and Reagan.

She dedicated her life as a Christian through Cornerstone Southern Baptist Church serving in multiple ways including organist, van driver, volunteer for the food pantry and always “witnessing her Lord’s love.”

Ellen and Tony worked closely with the Cottonwood, Inc.’s support team through the years and were appreciative of Cottonwood’s service and, therefore, request memorials to Cottonwood.

Friends may visit from 5 to 7 pm, April 20, at funeral home where family will receive them. Memorial Service will be held at 5 pm on April 21 at Cornerstone Southern Baptist Church, 2500 O’Connell Road, at the corner of O’Connell Road and East 25th Terrace, Lawrence, Kansas 66046.

Online condolences may be sent to www.runsey-yost.com