Life Story: Lake Stevens’ Ellie Moore helped others overcome obesity

Ellie Moore fought for a fulfilling life. In her long and daunting struggle with excess weight, she shed 400 pounds. In her last years, she battled cancer.

Those hardships aren’t what people who knew her best remember first.

“She helped a lot of people, that was her goal,” said Winnie Mann, a longtime friend.

“Ellie was a smile; that’s how everyone defined her,” said Mark Demos, a friend and mentor of the Lake Stevens woman. “She was such a genuine, lovely woman.”

Ellen Marie “Ellie” Moore died Jan. 20. She was 65.

Moore is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Julie and Robert Davis of Woodinville; two sons, David Roberts of Lake Stevens, and Geoff Roberts and his wife, Jamie Schwartz, of Monroe; her brother and sister-in-law, Val and Karrie Moore of Marysville; sister Elizabeth Lee, of Melbourne, Australia; and seven grandchildren. She had been divorced for many years.

Julie “Jewel” Davis said her mother was born June 21, 1943, the daughter of Orville and Melba Moore, and grew up in Seattle’s Wallingford area.

“She struggled with weight loss; she had been a lifelong dieter,” said Davis. At her heaviest, Moore weighed more than 600 pounds, her daughter said. With massive weight came physical and psychological pain, embarrassment and isolation. “She was getting to the point, she was afraid to shop during the day. She didn’t want people looking at her,” Davis said.

Moore’s daughter said her mother began changing after her divorce. “She turned her later years into a beautiful life,” Davis said. “Before her cancer, she had gotten down to about 180 pounds.”

She had tried weight-loss surgery and was involved in marketing dietary supplements. “Through trial and error, she learned the things that didn’t work,” Davis said.

It was learning about the glycemic index of foods that brought lasting results, Davis said. Moore wrote a weight-loss book, which hasn’t been published, called “Ellie’s Way.”

Before learning she had breast cancer about three years ago, she held classes to share her success. “She was also training as a life coach,” said Davis, who hopes to publish her mother’s book. “She was always writing,” said Davis. Moore had also penned and illustrated a series of books, called “Squiggles,” for her grandchildren.

“She was such a wonderful grandmother,” Davis said.

Dee Belyea, who lived nearby in Moore’s Lake Stevens apartment complex, said her friend was like a sister. Belyea attended a weight-loss group led by Moore. “I lost 72 pounds in less than seven months,” she said. “I used to go over almost every morning, have coffee and weigh in. She just teaches you how to eat, and makes you feel better about yourself.”

Mark Demos, a life coach, met Moore in about 2000 when he did some consulting for a business where she worked. She rented an apartment in the lower level of a house he had at Lake Sammamish. Moore started swimming in the lake, he said, and later began going to a gym.

“She was about 600 pounds. She was very quiet, very withdrawn from life,” Demos said. Over time, she lost 400 pounds. “She was a very courageous woman. The more weight she lost, the more life she gained.”

Moore started speaking to groups and traveling to spread her message of success, he said. After her cancer diagnosis, she regained some of the weight, but remained determined to help others, her daughter and friends said.

“It was quite remarkable, the encouragement she gave others. Her story alone is so encouraging,” said Winnie Mann, a close friend of Moore’s from Mukilteo.

Mann met Moore when their children were small. They were reacquainted years later when they worked together. They’d sometimes go out together and sing karaoke, an amazing pastime for a woman who’d once been so isolated.

“No matter where she was, no matter what size she was, people just loved her,” Mann said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460,

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