|Birth:||5 September 1897|
Fontanelle, Nebraska, USA
|Death:||7 May 2011|
Topeka, Kansas, USA
|Age:||113 years, 244 days|
Ella Schuler (née Winkelmann; 5 September 1897 – 7 May 2011) was a validated American supercentenarian who was the oldest known living person in Kansas at the time of her death.
Ella Winkelmann was born in Fontenelle, Nebraska on 5 September 1897 as the fourth child of German-immigrant parents Clausen and Mary Winkelmann. Her family raised horses, milked cows, and grew corn and oats. While her brothers eventually enrolled in school, her childhood was mostly spent working at home. Schuler has stated “if you don’t want to work hard, don’t go to a farm.”
Ella married John Cecil Schuler on 19 August 1923. Ella met John, originally from Virginia, when he traveled through Kansas working on the Union Pacific Railway. Over the next ten years, Ella gave birth to three sons: James, John Jr. and Robert, all born in Page City, Kansas. In 1934, husband John left his post in the railroad industry and with Ella founded Schuler’s Grocery Business in Topeka. Eventually the Schulers expanded their business and purchased the gas station adjacent to their grocery store.
While in her 50s, Schuler earned her high school diploma and soon after completed a two-year program at what was then known as Washburn College, now Washburn University. In 1952, James, the first of Ella’s three sons, died at age 26 of complications resulting from appendicitis. The Schulers closed their grocery store in 1978 to enter retirement.
During the spring of 1983, after almost 60 years of marriage, Ella’s husband died. Following this, Ella spent several years traveling both through Europe and the US. She still lived independently until 1995, aged 98, when she sustained injuries from a fall on an icy sidewalk and consequently moved to an assisted living facility.
Schuler died in Topeka, Kansas on 7 May 2011, aged 113 years, 244 days.