Elinor A. Causey, a retired Carroll County educator, a friend to many and a stranger to none, died of complications from pneumonia on Friday January 3, 2020, at St Joseph’s Hospital in Towson, MD. The longtime Westminster resident was 92 years old.
Born February 8, 1927, in Harrisburg, PA, she was the daughter of Ewell Jennings and Edythe Headings Argenbright. She was the wife of Paul Elvin Causey for 60 years. She earned a B.A. from Elon College in NC, and a Master’s Level Equivalency in Education from University of North Carolina, Western Maryland College, and Towson University. Before retiring she was a teacher for 39 years, beginning in North Carolina, and then in Virginia, before coming to Westminster, Maryland, in 1957. She taught English, Spanish, History, Math, and Language Arts at the elementary, middle and high school levels. In Carroll County she taught at Westminster High School, New Windsor Elementary School, Westminster Elementary School, and East Middle School. Many would say she never stopped teaching. In fact, she donated her body to the Maryland Anatomy Board, so she is still teaching, even after her death. Her remains will be cremated at a future date and returned for interment with her husband and son at the Rolling Green Cemetery in Camp Hill, PA.
She was raised Lutheran and joined Grace Lutheran Church in Westminster MD in 1958, where she was a 62-year member, taught Sunday School, and was a Sunshine Caller to shut-ins in the community for many years. She was an active 55-year member and Past Matron of Eastern Star Door to Virtue Chapter #94 in Westminster, MD, as well as Trinity Chapter #99 at Bonnie Blink in Cockeysville, MD.
She was a member of the Carroll County branch of the Maryland Retired School Personnel Association and served as a legislative lobbyist for them. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for key women educators. She was an Elks Widow of Lodge #2277. She was a member of the East Pennsboro Area High School Alumni Association, Class of 1944, and continued to meet with class members each summer at their High School Reunion (celebrating her 75th reunion this past August!) She was a volunteer for “Meals on Wheels” in Carroll County. After the death of her son, Mark, she became a founding member of Carroll County’s “Compassionate Friends” for bereaved parents who have lost a child. She enjoyed spending time with precious friends and family, reading, traveling, and playing bingo along with her friend, Gil Schuler, with whom she donated all of their winnings alternately to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospital for Children. She wrote many articles for the Carroll County Times, and she wrote poems and short stories, even being published in Highlights Magazine and World Treasury of Great Poems, volume II. She was definitely your “Dial-A-Friend” when you wanted to get a fact. In 1965 she went to New York City with her family to be on one of the “Password” television game shows. The celebrity guests were Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster in “The Munsters”) and Carol Channing (Dolly of “Hello Dolly”). She won a set of World Book Encyclopedias, still in use by her grandchildren today. It wouldn’t surprise us if she read them cover to cover.
Surviving are her two daughters, Jennifer Causey Breen of Media, PA, and Donna Sue Causey Bongardt and her husband Chuck of New Freedom, PA; five grandchildren: Morgan Heather Fuller and her husband Francis Richard Fuller III, Eric Causey Wayne and his wife Sara Jo (Williams), Susan Breen Irwin and husband Brian, Alexander Mark Bongardt, and Coleman Benjamin Bongardt; five great-grandchildren: Haley Lynn Irwin, Ethan Joseph Irwin, Mckenzie Causey Fuller, Hunter Michael Wayne, and Ryleigh Audrey Fuller; and dear friend, Gilbert Schuler. Gil, now 97, still plays the saxophone. They became friends soon after he came to Bonnie Blink. When he played for a Bonnie Blink Happy Hour and asked for requests, Elinor asked if he could play “In Heaven There Is No Beer.” He could and did; I guess she now knows if that is true. She was predeceased by her devoted and loving husband Paul E. Causey of 60 years in 2008 and by her beloved son, Mark Ewell Causey, who died from cancer at age 17 in 1971.
As many have said, “God broke the mold when He made Elinor.” She loved life and she loved sharing it with others. She fostered friendships for decades and routinely called a friend each day to check in, catch up, and reminisce. When she made the move to Maryland Masonic Homes, she quickly became friends with residents and staff, and she considered them part of her family. Remarkably, she learned and remembered most people’s names, even when new people would come. She liked calling people by name, making them feel valued. Her door was always open, and she was glad to help anyone in need, stopping whatever she was doing to make time for them. She made it her goal to advocate for those who could not speak up for themselves and regularly attended the Residents’ Committee meetings to share her concerns. She helped the Maryland Masonic admissions team and gave guided tours to newcomers and regularly made a point of helping them feel welcome and integrated into their new home. She passed out dozens of Maryland Masonic Homes brochures to people she knew, encouraging them to come live there. She and Gilbert Schuler together wrote a “Bonnie Blink” song! Her breadth of life was great, but the impact she left on others was even greater. She led with her heart, but foremost with her faith. She will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved her.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at The Grand Lodge of Maryland (304 International Circle, Cockeysville, MD 21030). Visitation with the family is from 12-1:00 PM; The Memorial Service will begin at 1:00 PM, with the Reverends Henry Thompson and Robert Brookman officiating. A reception will follow the service at Bonnie Blink (a 5-minute walk “up the hill” and adjacent to The Grand Lodge).
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital www.stjude.org or Shriners Hospitals for Children www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.
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