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Ellie Schiller

Posted by Marsha Drew 
Ellie Schiller
February 10, 2009 03:32PM
Unfortunately I have sad news. Ellie Schiller passed away about an hour ago. She lived a great life and did many wonderful things for the world. I think it would be nice if those who knew her would post some stories of their friendships so everyone will know how special she was. It was truly an honor to call her my friend and I will miss her.
A memorial will take place at Phil's lake (named after her father)on the 21st of February. (Phil's Lake is under the barge canal bridge and to the east). I will post more information as I get it.
Re: Ellie Schiller
February 10, 2009 06:20PM
I was lucky to get to meet Ellie when she came to town and rented her post office box. Daily contact with this amazing woman will probably be one of the greatest blessing in my life. She has the biggest heart for nature I have ever seen. Going on my boat with her, wading in the muck and nature watching was always an incredible experience. Her father Phil and my mother had alzheimers/dementia at the same time and we shared daily sad but funny stories until they passed. She stood by her father till the end which you would have had to know Phil to understand what a challenge that was. She was so set on taming that black little illusive dog that ran and hid at human sight on the corner of Hwy 40 and 63rd St for months. She even hired a person with darts to try and save that prescious Mariah that she eventually conquered. We were walking one day on the barge canal banks and I told her how locals had fought a marina project for years that would cut the plug on an old rock mine and let the salt water flow into the gash in the fresh water aquifier. It did not take her long to get the foundation to negotiate that property and buy it. (The story follows) That is where the Felburn Lake is today. She always walked the property where the plug is and with her marine science background and love, she would say this would be the neatest place to have a marine science study building because you would have salt water on one side of the building & fresh water on the other side. She was always looking for a cause to save the earth or educate people and the right person was put in charge of helping decide which projects the Felburn Foundation would fund. The number of projects locally is unbelievable but Ellie's love was worldwide. She was a legacy and we have lots of lucky Yankeetown school students that got to share part of this woman's love for the earth and what is in it. Ellie was loved by all who knew her and there will be a great big void in nature with her passing. We are all blessed by knowing her but especially by what she left us.
Re: Ellie Schiller
February 10, 2009 06:26PM
I'm so sorry that I didn't get to see Miss Ellie once she got home from the hospital, but I'm so glad I got to become Miss Ellie's friend. I had only met Miss Ellie when Frank and I opened the restaurant and she came in. We'd laugh and talk about the things we had in common (mainly being short and happy people) She'd tell me some of her life stories and depression times, and how spoiled people were today not paying attention to the hard times coming up, and how she would fix things if she had control of the US Government. She loved this area soooo much, and wanted to make sure some of it was preserved for the next generation. "Gracie, people don't understand that you can't put it back when it's gone. Seeing that programs were started and continued for the young people to learn about wildlife and nature, and for the rest of the world to continue their education of wildlife and nature was Miss Ellie's Goal in Life, and I am so glad I got to know her in mine.
Re: Ellie Schiller
February 10, 2009 06:34PM
I apologize, I got so wrapped up in Miss Ellie's passing on to Heaven, that I forgot to sign my name.

Gracie (at work in Leesburg)

Marcia Please Be sure to let us know what time and thank you for letting us know.
Re: Ellie Schiller
February 11, 2009 12:16PM
although only ever met "officially" once, seeing Ellie at innumerable town meetings, and discovering the name of the felburn foundation on more environmentally sensitive properties in Levy County than 1 could shake a stick at, seeing donations to the town of Yankeetown from the same organization, seeing the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve, it's Ellie Schiller Education Center, knowing the details of a derailed attempt by the Citrus County Commission to "divert" donated property dedicated by her foundation for a park to other purposes, based on the retention of an excellent attorney who'd put a little clause in the donation agreement, Ellie Schiller was a Lady, who didn't just care about our environment; She brought to bear, all the tools left her by her Father to make sure "caring" wasn't all that happened.

All of Us and Our Grandchildren should be (& hopefully will be) thankful for her Actions, for all of us.

From a guy who only saw what You Did,
Thank You Ellie Schiller, for All That You Did.
May Our Lord Recieve You With Open Arms.
Anonymous User
Re: Ellie Schiller
February 14, 2009 12:28PM
Good Morning, it's just Gracie

Wanted to let everyone know that today's Chronicle has an excellent article on Miss Ellie and all that she and her foundation have accomplished, on the front page. It was a beautifully written article for a wonderful woman that I am so proud to have known. God Bless Miss Ellie.

Re: Ellie Schiller
February 14, 2009 12:32PM
Local philanthropist Ellie Schiller dies at 65

By Special to the Chronicle

Future generations of residents in Citrus, Alachua, Marion and Levy counties and around the world will share the legacy of a woman who enjoyed the Florida sunshine but shunned the limelight.

Elmyra Felburn Schiller of Yankeetown gave generously and often to local libraries, wildlife parks and museums in need of funds. She also purchased property needed for recreation and conservation purposes, not only locally, but nationally and internationally.

Schiller, 65, died Tuesday at her home in Pine Ridge.

“Ellie Schiller and The Felburn Foundation have made it possible for us to place two Boundless Playgrounds — one on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway near Ocala, and the other on the St. Marks Trail, south of Tallahassee,” said Mickey Thomason, area manager of the Ocala Office for the Florida Greenways and Trails. “A Boundless Playground accommodates children of all capabilities and talents. This has been a dream come true, and we could not have done it without the generosity of Ellie Schiller.”

Those who knew Ellie described Schiller as a hard-working, no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point woman who had a heart of gold.

“Ellie Schiller was instrumental in convincing her father to fund The Felburn Foundation because of the great need to fund local institutions in the Nature Coast,” said her good friend and adviser, Sam Mutch. “Ellie was proud of her humble beginning.”

She grew up in Dayton, Ohio, where her father, Phil Felburn, founded Aetna Freight Lines Inc. Felburn was able to build the firm into one of the country’s preeminent trucking companies. Phil Felburn enjoyed the outdoors, and had a number of homes. One home was in Palm Beach where Ellie boasted that some of the preeminent Florida politicians and her father worked out the restoration of the Everglades program to present to the legislature and Congress.

Schiller graduated from Erie College, Pa. She and her former husband took a world tour after graduation and stayed longer than expected in a Tibetan Monastery on the slopes of the Himalayan Mountains, north of Darjeeling, India. There she helped teach Tibetan refugee children mathematics. She also took her turn milking the yakows, the local cross between yaks and cattle.

On her return from her world tour she settled in Washington State and became a fisheries biologist for the state. She continued in that job until her mother died in 1988. She then joined her father.

She and her father moved to Yankeetown from Marion, Ohio, in 1989.

Ellie and her father noticed how small the library was in Yankeetown.

“They approached me,” the former librarian said. “They said they wanted to build a wing on the Yankeetown library. All they asked in return was that there be information available about the local flora or fauna.”

The nonprofit, natural resource, educational foundation Phil Felburn established in 1978 provided institutions within the area, Florida, the nation, and the world with millions of dollars of needed funds.

Ellie was instrumental in building new libraries in Bronson, remodeling the Dunnellon library and Cedar Key, put an addition on the Belleview library. Ellie Schiller, through the Felburn Foundation, helped build the branch library in the Ocala National Forest and the Silver River Museum library, as well as the new addition to its museum.

“Ellie Schiller and her father had a lot to do in shaping the direction of the museum,” said Guy Marwick, Silver River Museum director. “Even after Phil’s death, good things still happened because Phil’s daughter, Ellie, took an interest ensuring that the Felburn Foundation helped this area.”

The Felburn Foundation paid for the construction of a wing in the Silver River Museum to display historical artifacts. In Alachua County it helped pay for the construction of the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, including its Environmental Education Center and Summer’s House. Under Ellie’s direction, the Foundation bought lands for conservation purposes in Levy, Citrus, and Alachua counties. She was instrumental in preserving Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River to protect manatees.

Schiller also ensured that worthy conservation and educational needs were met worldwide. Some of the charities and educational establishments she endowed included the Trumpeter Swan Society; Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center; Shepherd Spinal Center Foundation; Marion County Public Library; Friends of Homosassa Springs; International Crane Foundation; Horry-Georgetown Technical College; Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park; Madison Wisconsin Audubon Society; Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches; International Snow Leopard Trust; Rourk Library — Brunswick County, N.C.; Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation Inc.; Columbia Land Trust; Campbell University; International Snow Leopard Trust: Contribution to Support Research, Educational Projects and The Conservation and Preservation of Snow Leopards by the Snow Leopard Trust; Florida segment of the Whooping Crane Recovery Project; Anderson University; Avian Research & Conservation Institute; Campbell University. The western trailhead park of the Cross Florida Greenway was made available to the State of Florida, which has developed it into a wonderful recreational area, which includes Phil’s Lake, named for her father.

The Saturday before her death, Ellie’s friends honored her by dedicating the Ellie Schiller Educational Facility at Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve in Yankeetown. Ellie had made plans to attend but was too weak on Saturday and could not attend; but she was present in spirit.

Ellie Schiller is survived by many friends throughout the world because of her wonderful and unassuming personality. A memorial service will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at Phil’s Lake at the Trailhead Park. All of Ellie’s friends are invited.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to “Friends of Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve” in memory of Ellie Schiller for the Ellie Schiller Education Center, P.O. Box 482, Yankeetown, FL 34498.

Anonymous User
Re: Ellie Schiller
February 15, 2009 01:54AM
Thank You, Ed

I appreciate your printing so much.

Re: Ellie Schiller
March 15, 2012 11:38AM
she was a great frend she came to seattle to visit me every year.she was more like a second mom when i was a kid always picked me up to take me on conoe trip to th arboredum at the uw of washington.was there when i was born held me before my dad did very closed to my family she worked at the fish plant hear on the skokomish rez. i am a comercail fisherman.she always tryed to warn me about not over harvesting the resorce around here tell me how important it is.i remember she had a dog when i was about 7 years old we lived in seattle then her an that dog came to stay with us for a couple years she loved him his name was buck a german shepard . she made a big difference in my life today helped me become a good man.she never forgot me came to see me every year she could.did the same for my kids they looked forward to seen her we all miss ya ellie never stop thinkin of you!
Re: Ellie Schiller
May 31, 2012 02:28AM
ellie always felt strong about the save yanky town hope everyone keeps it up thanx
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