Catherine Ensor, 78, farmer and square dance enthusiast

November 10, 1995|By DeWitt Bliss | DeWitt Bliss,SUN STAFF

Catherine N. Ensor, who with her husband had been a sheep farmer and square dance teacher and caller, died Sunday at

hospital in York, Pa., after a heart attack. She was 78.

Mrs. Ensor moved with her husband to Willow Street, Pa., after they retired from farming in 1988. They had operated Mary's Delight as a dairy farm, then as a sheep and beef operation, on 340 acres in her native White Hall since 1940.

The former Catherine Norris, a graduate of Jarrettsville High School and Baltimore Business College, had been married for 59 years to James V. Ensor.

She became interested in square dancing in 1947, studied dancing and calling in Baltimore at the YMCA and with an expert in Colorado Springs, Colo., and taught herself and her husband.

A friend, Anna Sanders, who began dancing with the couple in the late 1940s, recalled dances with music from a piano or violin, events for the newly initiated, demonstrations at schools, churches and nursing homes, and weekly dances at the Ensor home.

The "old-time square dances" the Ensors held for many years each spring in their barn "were a lot of fun, with live music and refreshments," she said.

Ruth Jones, who learned square dancing in the late 1970s, said Mrs. Ensor was not only a good teacher, but became a friend to the dancers and organized bus trips and other activities.

"She kept in touch and would come down from Pennsylvania and visit you if you were sick, Mrs. Jones said.

For years, the Ensors taught at senior centers, particularly the Bykota center in Towson.

Peggy Ruppersberger, former director of Bykota and now an official in the Baltimore County Aging Department, said Mrs. Ensor was "an angel in the truest sense," a good teacher and "a nurturer" who kept track of events in dancers' families and was "a dear, sweet person everybody loved."

Peggy Bickel, regional director of senior centers for the county Aging Department, said the Ensors boosted participation at Bykota's weekly square dance program from a single square to 16.

Mrs. Ensor also was recreation chairman for the Baltimore County Extension Service.

She was a member of West Willow United Methodist Church and a former member of Jarrettsville and Vernon United Methodist churches.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at J.J. Hartenstein Mortuary in New Freedom, Pa.

She is survived by her husband.

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