Born to George W. and Ellen C. Matthews in Everett, Wa. The Matthews moved to SW Seattle when Ellen was young. She graduated from West Seattle High School in 1937. She then entered the dry-cleaning program at Edison Vocational in Seattle. Around 1940, Ellen took a summer position at a drycleaner in Juneau, Ak. where she was able to take in the out-doors with her employers.
At a 1941 St. Valentine’s blind date, she met Harry V. Larsen. They were married on May 11 of that year and honeymooned aboard his ketch, sailing to the fish cannery at Metlakatla near Ketchikan where Harry was the machinist/ maintenance man. In September of that year Ellen took a steamer back to Seattle, with Harry sailing south about a month later. Harry T. was born in May of 1942. Harry V. worked as a machinist at Todd Pacific Shipyard for most of WW ll machining propeller shafts for destroyers. They bought a new house in West Seattle in the fall of 1943 at the time that Gary was born, and the sailboat was sold. After the end of the war, they built a vacation house on the west side of Vashon Island. Ellen thought it would be a good idea to have pigs and goats to clear the land. Harry V. started a foundry with a partner to make castings of his patented marine products. The foundry failed in about a year and the partnership was dissolved. In 1947, Harry started building 8’, 10’, and 12’ plywood skiffs under the brand “Skippercraft”. Ellen took on the administrative and financial duties of the burgeoning company. In addition, Ellen traveled to Seattle to pick up materials and do the banking and marketing. Over the years, she developed business relationships with bankers which paid dividends throughout her career. In 1951, they bought waterfront property on Quartermaster Harbor. A house was re-located and finished out, then a factory building was built, for which Ellen set up the financing. Erik was born in 1952.
Ellen attended night school accounting classes to augment her financial skills.
As the boat company grew the building was expanded to 14000 square feet and a crew peaking at 25-30 workers in two shifts. The Skippercraft line grew from the skiffs to outboards, inboards, and cruisers up to 32’. The administration, payroll, banking and marketing was Ellen’s responsibility.
Tom was born in 1959. In the ‘60s, the boat business slowed. Ellen started buying houses to remodel and sell. Over the years, into the ‘80s, she had about 30 real estate transactions. Her motto in business was Win-Win. As the boat business slowed, Ellen had apartments built out in the factory building. This decision proved to provide a lasting income that supported her until her passing.
Ellen was an accomplished seamstress and upholsterer. She enjoyed gardening, landscaping, and boating. She was an accomplished photographer. She had a dark room in the factory office to develop the press camera stills for the boat brochures. She also took 16 mm movies of the family, boats, and local events.
Ellen invested in her family and friends, was a loyal wife, mother, and friend. She was interested in developments and projects her family members were involve in.
In the 1980’s after her husband passed, she designed and contracted construction of her home overlooking Lake Washington. In her later years she had in-home care. Her care givers came to love their employer.
Ellen is survived by her four sons and spouses, four grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, and 3 great-great -grandchildren.
Information about the gathering to celebrate her life can be found at: email@example.com. Please RSVP.