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Mary Ellen Manifold

July 28, 1937 June 22, 2020
Mary Ellen Manifold
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Obituary for Mary Ellen Manifold

Mary Ellen Manifold was born July 28, 1937, in Riverton, Wyoming, to Thomas Daniel and Bernetta Rose (Sullivan) Cain. She was raised with two brothers in Wyoming.  As a teenager Mary Ellen went to live with her aunt and uncle in Stayton where she attended St Boniface High School in Sublimity.  After graduating from St. Boniface High School, Mary Ellen married Joseph Slavenski and the couple moved to the Los Angeles area. They started a family and had four children right away, and when Mary was pregnant with their fifth child, Joe suddenly passed away. Mary unexpectedly became a single mother and decided she must head back to Oregon. She packed the kids in the car and drove herself from LA to Stayton, where her fifth child was born. With five children under six years old, Mary faced insurmountable odds, but she faced her challenges with grit and determination.Mary Ellen went right to work, doing whatever was necessary to ensure that her children were well cared for and provided with all their needs and more. She held many jobs over the years as waitress, caregiver, and med aide at Marian Estates in Sublimity. She worked tirelessly to provide for her children and even somehow afforded to send them all to Catholic School. She took them to mass and made sure that they were raised to be kind, loving, and hard working. She also still managed to see that her kids always made it to their activities like 4-H, Brownies, Scouts, and sports. Mary Ellen even found time to sew just about everything including clothing, blankets, crafts, and costumes for the kids’ school programs. She was very frugal with what she had and although they didn’t have much, the kids never felt poor.One evening at Happy Hour, Mary Ellen met Phillip Manifold and they began a whirlwind romance. The couple was soon inseparable, and the kids eagerly welcomed him into their family. They were married on February 14, 1981, in Reno, Nevada. Phillip stepped in as father to the four kids still at home whose ages ranged from 10 years old to nearly out of high school. Mary Ellen was blessed to find someone that not only loved her but loved her children as his own and took wonderful care of them all.By the time her kids were grown and started giving her grandkids, she was finally able to take the time to enjoy her family more. Mary Ellen adored her grandchildren and they all loved her so much. In 1988, Phillip and Mary Ellen moved to Napa, California, and worked as caretakers of a winery for over 20 years. It was the best time of their life, and they enjoyed their carefree life together. Phillip worked at the winery while Mary Ellen worked as a nanny for a couple of doctors and their small children. For a time, she ran an Alzheimer’s Respite Center in Napa. Mary Ellen also volunteered at Kaiser Permanente in Napa and was a member of the Salt and Pepper Club. Phillip and Mary also traveled some in their motorhome when they could. The grandkids would come for long visits to Napa during the summers and many wonderful memories were made.Mary Ellen was an incredibly hard worker and a private person by nature, but she was also friendly and kind. She always put others first and would help anyone even when she couldn’t help herself. Mary Ellen put everyone’s needs above her own and anyone who met her instantly loved her. She loved sewing and crocheting hats and blankets and was a collector of salt and pepper shakers.In 2011, Mary and Phillip moved back to the Stayton area to be near family. Mary’s health began to deteriorate in 2013 when she began to show signs of Alzheimer’s and then had a stroke. Phillip was right by her side, caring for her in her condition much longer than most could or would. Eventually her care became too much for the family and they moved her to Cedar Village Assisted Living Community on June 1, 2018.  Her children and grandchildren visited often and her beloved husband rarely left her side.After a long and valiant fight, Mary Ellen passed away peacefully on June 22, 2020, in Salem, Oregon. She made an indelible mark on so many lives and will be deeply missed by those who loved her. Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her mother Bernetta, brother Patrick Cain, and her first husband Joe. She is survived by her loving husband of 39 years, Phillip; children Robyn Fox, Robert Sullivan, Roxanne Dixon, Richard Slavenski, and Rachel Halligan; grandchildren Amie Travers, Stacy Evers, Erica Sullivan, David Sullivan, John Sullivan, Kelli Parks, Troy Dixon, Mathew Slavenski, Morgan Slavenski, Makenna Slavenski, Haley Hamilton, Michael Halligan, Kyle Halligan, and Jody Halligan; 14 great-grandchildren; and brother Leo Cain.

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