Our Mom, baptized Ruth Elinor Shafer, but called Ellen all her life, died Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, at Valley View Nursing Center. Her passing was eased by the gentle and loving care of the wonderful staff on Sunrise Terrace, who treated her like a member of their family during her year with them. She had reached the age of 92, as did our father, Art Marvin, who died in 2006.
Mom always said she had a wonderful life, from her childhood in Hartford, Mich., (one of seven children born to Dell and Ruth Shafer and raised in the fruit farming business) through her married years raising four children, then later as the beloved matriarch, nicknamed Gigi, to her seven grand and seven great-grandchildren.
In 1943 after graduating from nursing school in Kalamazoo, Mom enlisted in the Navy as a nurse, assigned to Bainbridge Hospital in Maryland. Within weeks she was caught up in a whirlwind romance with our Dad, a handsome officer she met at a dance. They were married six weeks later. You can't read through the stack of letters exchanged during this short period without feeling the thrill of young love. Our parents were married for 63 years, most of which were spent in Garden View, where, in addition to Dad's job at Bethlehem Steel, they operated Marvin's Fruit Farm in the summertime. As the years passed and the kids grew up, Mom took up her work again, serving as a school nurse in several area schools. In her 50's she earned a master's degree from Bucknell as a school psychologist, surprising even herself that she could accomplish such a feat.
Our parents enjoyed almost 25 years of happy retirement together. Both Life Masters in duplicate bridge, they traveled extensively in search of a tournament or a new experience. They were regulars at the Williamsport Bridge Club and had many longtime friends there. Mom was a person who always saw the glass as half-full, who rarely passed judgment on others. She taught us by example to be happy, to be kind, to be responsible. She gave us a love of home-baked desserts, of seeing the funny side of things, of plunging into the ocean no matter how cold the water. She seemed to have boundless energy and boundless cheer. She loved her family unconditionally.
She is survived by her four children, Merrily Frey and Nancy Lindoerfer (Armando Robles) of South Williamsport, Jackson Marvin (Michelle Franks) of Anchorage, Alaska, and Jim Marvin of San Antonio, Texas. Grandchildren are Pascha (Dave) Frey Ferry, Chanda (Ryan) Frey Grimes, Jessica (Nate Sebold)and Daniel (LeeAnn Kinney) Lindoerfer, Brook and Sky Marvin, and Amber (Cory) Marvin Wiley. Great-grandchildren are Tiarnan, Liam and Mairead Ferry, Brendan and Calla Grimes, and Rowen and Iris Wiley. She leaves brothers, Robert and Steven (Ginny) Shafer.
Visitation will be on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 3 p.m. at Knight-Confer Funeral Home, 1914 Memorial Ave. Funeral service will follow at 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 57 N. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701-1317.