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Ella Steele- Representative Alternate Ella was born and raised approximately 50 miles North of Denver in a small town called Eaton. She divorced after 28 years of marriage and has four children and three grand children. Ella has her BA in Music Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction and 30 hours towards her doctorate. She is a retired teacher from Denver Public Schools where she taught elementary vocal music for 18 years and then went into a 3rd grade classroom for seven years. Though now retired, Ella still tutors reading students in the Los Angeles schools over the internet. She also has taught piano music in her home and has done so for over 30 years.
Ella’s love of teaching carries over into her love for sugar art as well as she has been a Wilton instructor for 18 years. She is in Wilton’s Hall of Fame and has taught over 2,000 cake decorating students. Ella was awarded best teacher of the year twice as a Wilton instructor and continues to teach the art at Michael’s in Thornton. She also makes display cakes for Cakes by Karen. Through her years of teaching, she has taught over 16,000 students and still loves to teach! Ella is the immediate past Secretary for CO/WY ICES and was elected to a two year term the Alternate Representative at the October 2009 meeting. In her spare time, Ella enjoys taking walks, going to the movies, and listening to classical music. Ella is very close to all of her children and often baby- sits her three grandchildren. She is grateful that she can spend time with her family and proud that they all are very close. When Ella was in high school she won the Stars of Tomorrow contest as a stand-up comedian, and also performed impersonating Elvis Presley.
Judy Ryal - Colorado and Wyoming ICES State Representative 303-761-1522 Judy was born in Wichita Falls, TX, but grew up in Pasadena, CA where she graduated from high school and married Dennis Farrell at the age of 19. For the next 23 years, Judy was an Air Force wife, living all over the country and 5 years in Germany. The best part of military life was making wonderful friends all over the world with whom she still remains in contact. Dennis and Judy had two sons, Denny, now almost 40, and Ron, 36, who both live in the Denver area.
Three years following Dennis’ retirement he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Judy became his caregiver for the next 4 years. Judy met Barbara, John’s wife, thru church. Barbara was soon diagnosed with breast cancer, the most aggressive type, to which she succumbed less than a year after Dennis passed from ALS. It was soon after the passing of their spouses that Judy and John started dating, although John lived in CA and Judy in Colorado Springs. To make their union official, John and Judy traveled to New Zealand’s South Island where they were married in a small church just outside of Christchurch and honeymooned for two weeks. It was September, springtime in NZ, and they had a wonderful time visiting fields of daffodils, and enjoyed dolphins guiding the boat as they explored the fjords!
John and Judy spent the first year of their new life together living in Santa Cruz, CA, overlooking Monterrey Bay. Subsequent years found them living in London, Phoenix, and then, to Castle Rock so they could be near Judy’s sons. They now love spending time with their five grandkids here in CO and six in Phoenix! Judy’s mother did cakes as she was growing up, but at that time, Judy wanted no part of it! When her 2nd son was born however, she decided it would be good to learn how to make cakes for her boys, and took a basic course. She went on to take fondant and gumpaste courses before it was popular, here in the U.S., and the rest was self-taught. She began to do wedding cakes ,and even taught classes when living in Germany, which really helped to supplement family income. 36.5 years and the owner of a very successful business (Cake Crafts) later, Judy says her late husband, Dennis, would be quite surprised to see her now!
Other than spending time with her grandkids and church activities, Judy enjoys tole painting in her spare time. If you visit Judy and John’s home, you can see some beautiful examples of her tole work! As members of CO/WY ICES, we are so very fortunate to have Judy as a fellow member, and further, as the state representative for our chapter. She and John both support the chapter in so many ways; the obvious, such as allowing us to have meetings and DOS at Cake Crafts, and by generous donations to the cake show. And in other ways, which may not be noticeable to the casual observer– Judy is always there for encouragement and support , no matter the task at hand and offers sound, level headed advice, from her heart. She works tirelessly to make our chapter the best it can possibly be, and strives to represent all members in a fair and unbiased manner.
Thank you Judy, and John, for all you do for CO/WY ICES!