LE FLEMING, ISABELLA ANNIE FRASER (ELLA)
nee CRAIG (LADY LE FLEMING)
Ella Craig was born at Riversdale, Southland on the 24 March 1893, the daughter of James and Flora Matheson McLeod Craig nee Fraser. Ella's maternal grandmother, Janet McLeod was a sister of Rev Norman McLeod of Waipu.
The family moved to Taranaki in 1904, farming near Manaia. Ella started training as a pupil teacher at the age of sixteen years, and taught in several schools around Taranaki before arriving at Otakeho School. While there, she met her future husband Frank Thomas Le Fleming, and they were married on Ella's 28th birthday in 1921.
Frank was descended from an ancient French family who could trace their ancestry back to the time William the Conqueror crossed to England in 1066. Upon the death of his father William, Frank and Ella inherited the title of Sir and Lady Le Fleming.
After their marriage, the couple began farming on the Auroa Road, milking 40 cows, but eventually buying the next door property and increasing to 130 cows.
Ella was always involved in district affairs, helping with the Ladies' Guild of the St John's Anglican Church at Otakeho, and being a member of the British and Foreign Bible Society. She was a founder president of the Women's Division of the Farmer's Union (WDFU), a position held for six years and was later honoured as a life member. She was president of the local Red Cross Society and was also involved with fundraising for the war effort during World War Two, and the Cancer Research campaign.
In 1925, Ella learnt to drive a car, and in later life took up oil painting as a hobby, teaching herself. Her elder sister Jessie Lindsay Meuli nee Craig was considered a very good artist. Ella produced a large number of landscapes, many including Mt Egmont, and she also enjoyed painting flowers. Fortunately the fanmily appreciated her work and have kept many, but some were given in presentations for friends leaving the district.
Ella died on the 24 June 1986 in Hawera and is buried at the Manaia cemetery. She was predeceased by Frank who had died three months after the couple celebrated their golden wedding.
Gordon Le Fleming, Manaia (son)
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