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1930 Ella 2022

Ella Smith Vizena

August 18, 1930 — April 24, 2022

At the age of 91, Ella Smith Vizena passed away in Sandpoint, Idaho on May 24, 2022.  Ella was born August 18, 1930 in Bellevue, Idaho to James and Agnes Eggleston.  She was the youngest, with three older brothers. 

Although Ella lived most of her life in California, she liked to tell people why she was born in Idaho.  When her mother Agnes was expecting, she insisted that her daughter not be born in Imperial Valley, California.  So Agnes loaded up her 3 baby boys, got on a train to Bellevue and shortly after gave birth to Ella. When they later returned to Imperial Valley and met Ella’s father at the train station, he asked what was in the basket, is it a little chick? Her childhood nickname then became “Chick.”  This name stuck into her teens when she finally said she wanted to be called Ella.

Ella’s family lived in Imperial Valley for the first seven years of her life.  They decided to head north in 1937 not only to escape the heat, but also in hopes for a better life.  On the way there, her family stopped at a prune orchard near Gilroy, and ended up working in the orchard until mid-September to make a little extra money.  Ella remembered turning seven years old while helping pick prunes with her family.  They then decided to pack up the old Ford truck and continue north arriving in Stockton. Ella’s mother told her husband that it was time to put the children in school so the family remained in Stockton.

Ella graduated from Stockton high school in 1948.  Two years later she married Richard L. Smith, and in 1954 her first son Larry was born and Curtis followed in 1958.  When Curtis was born they were living in San Jose.  She led a busy life in San Jose, raising her sons, settling in to their new home, and attending college.  She later obtained her librarian’s degree at the age of 40 and worked at the Livermore library for three years.

By the 1970’s, Ella and her family were living in San Ramon, and her husband had started his own jewelry business, Smith Jewelers, in Danville, California.  They later moved to Danville to be closer to their business, with Ella also working in the jewelry store until retiring in the early 2000’s.

Sadly in 1981, her husband Richard passed away. During the next few years, Ella did a little traveling on her own and went on a Caribbean cruise and then to Ireland, where she “kissed the blarney stone.”  She also visited France, Switzerland and Italy with her two sons.  Traveling was always a treat for Ella and was especially fond of trips that she and Richard took.

In 1988, Ella married Frank Vizena and exchanged their vows in Coco Palms Resort in Kauai Hawaii, later renewing their vows in St. Isidore’s Catholic Church in Danville. Ella and Frank had many happy years together.  Ella was always an active person and during this time she took up running.  She competed in many racing events from 1995 to 2008, winning a gold medal at the age of 77 in her age group. As avid travelers, Ella and Frank visited Egypt in 2005.  She said it was a fantastic trip, visiting the pyramids, Luxor, Valley of the Kings, King Tut’s tomb, and she even rode a camel!

Ella lost Frank in 2008 while she was living in Danville.  Her sons retired from running the jewelry store in 2013 and moved to Sandpoint, Idaho. They convinced her to also move to Idaho, which she did in 2015. During her first couple of years in Sandpoint, she volunteered at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in the soup kitchen. She later moved into Luther Park, staying there for six years.  Ella spent the last three weeks of her life in a care home in Sandpoint where she passed away with family at her side.

Family and friends remember Ella for her spunky personality and adventurous spirit, her love of dancing to country and western music, enjoying a good glass of wine, having a beautiful smile, being a caring and thoughtful mother, a lover of books, puzzles and learning. Lastly, Ella was a spiritual woman with a strong belief in God and a lifelong member of the Catholic faith.

Ella is survived by her brother Wendell Eggleston, her two sons, Laurence (Sue) Smith, and Curtis Smith, grandchildren Rachel (Joel) Cotton, Tyler Smith, Rebecca (Radhwan) Alabsi, a great-granddaughter Riser Cotton. Her step-children, Frank Jr. Vizena, Gene (Sharon) Vizena, Jim Vizena, Mike Vizena, Steve Vizena and Adriennne (Rene) Baumann, and their children Alex and Andy, and many more step-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and step-great grandchildren,.

Ella was preceded in death by her parents James and Agnes, her two husbands Richard and Frank, and two brothers Eugene and James Eggleston.

The family would like to thank Bonner General Hospice for their attentive care and support in Ella’s final days.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bonner General Hospice.

There will be a rosary said for Ella on Monday, May 2 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at 6:00 p.m. in Sandpoint, Idaho and a funeral mass on Tuesday, May 3 at 11:00 a.m. also at St. Joseph’s in Sandpoint. There will also be a committal service at DeYoung’s Funeral Home in Stockton, California on May 11 at 1:00 p.m. and Ella will be interred at San Joaquin Catholic Cemetery in Stockton following the service.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ella Smith Vizena, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Prayer Service

Monday, May 2, 2022

Starts at 6:00 pm (Pacific time)

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Funeral Service

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Pacific time)

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