A Memorial Service for The Rev. Mary Louise Ellenberger, 90, Pastor Emerita of Towson Presbyterian Church and a dedicated Christian educator, will be held 10am Saturday, May 30 at the church, 400 W. Chesapeake Ave, Towson, MD 21212. A reception will follow the service.
Rev. Ellenberger retired in 1992 after serving ten years as Associate Pastor of Christian Education Ministries at Towson Presbyterian Church. Her tireless and creative leadership drew people of all ages to the church. Under Rev. Ellenberger's guidance, attendance doubled in the church's Sunday school and children were encouraged to take a more active part in worship services. She also helped establish a computer database for the church school, developed a vacation Bible school at Bee Tree camp, created a resource center and implemented programs to prepare youngsters to receive Communion. Equally interested in adult learning opportunities, Rev. Ellenberger encouraged church members to engage in hands-on ministries in the larger community through her support of AIDS awareness, pursuit of interfaith understanding, work with homeless families and care for the environment.
Friends say that Rev. Ellenberger's believed that education, mission and the worship experience were equally important components of a Christian's call to serve God. Rev. Ellenberger prayed often for her church family and remained active in her later years, even after moving to Glen Meadows Retirement Community in Glen Arm. There, she continued to support a number of church mission efforts. She also was a longtime member of the Maryland Athletic Club in Timonium, where she participated in Ai Chi swim classes to retain her strength and stamina.
Rev. Ellenberger was born in Tulsa, OK and moved as a child with her family to Chicago and later Indianapolis. She was graduated with a B.A. degree from Hanover College in Indiana in the late 1940s and, several years later, received a M.A. degree in Theology from McCormick Theological Seminary. Shortly afterward, the young church worker married Lee C. Ellenberger, a respected archaeological photographer and surveyor. She accompanied her husband for several years as his assistant while conducting Biblical archaeology expeditions in the Middle East; and, also spent time there studying about the Holy Land. It was while working in Lebanon that the couple adopted an infant daughter, Laila.
After returning with her family to the United States, Rev. Ellenberger served as a Christian educator in churches in the Midwest. She also worked with the Church Federation of Greater Chicago, helped establish centers that provided weekday religious education for children and became deeply involved in organizations that promoted racial harmony. In 1980, Rev. Ellenberger was called to the First Presbyterian Church of Joplin, MO where she was ordained as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament. Two years later, the Ellenbergers moved to the Baltimore area where she was then called as an Associate Minister to Towson Presbyterian Church. Rev. Ellenberger was passionate about her faith and remained a dedicated servant to the Church throughout her retirement.
Rev. Ellenberger's husband died in 1990. She is survived by her daughter, Laila Buell and her son-in-law, Ellsworth Buell; two granddaughters, Lauren Buell and Laneya Dennis; a grandson, Michael Buell; a nephew, Lee Watters; two nieces, Cathy Moore and Chrissy Watters, and a host of other family and friends. The family will receive friends for visitation from 2pm to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm on Friday, May 29, at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, Inc., 6500 York RD, Baltimore, MD 21212. Private interment will be held at a later date at Beetree Cemetery.