Eloise Ensor Parker, 92, college host, educator

September 11, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Eloise Ensor Parker, who gave dinners for freshmen and served as host at gatherings for faculty members and their spouses during the quarter-century of her husband's presidency at Western Maryland College, died Saturday of complications from Alzheimer's disease at Copper Ridge in Sykesville. She was 92.

Born in Waynesboro, Pa., Eloise Elizabeth Bittner was a 1926 graduate of Central High School in Harrisburg. After earning her undergraduate degree in English at New York University in 1931, she earned a degree in education at Drew University in Madison, N.J.

At Drew in 1931, she married fellow student Lowell Skinner Ensor and moved with him to Maryland when he became a Methodist minister.

His first posting was to Prince Frederick in Calvert County, where he was assigned to three rural churches. Each Sunday the couple drove from church to church in a used Ford sedan with a rumble seat. She taught Sunday school and prepared foods for church suppers.

"It was the Depression, and they were often given chickens, vegetables and fish," said her daughter, Caryl Ensor Peterson of Lutherville. "If he married someone, the bride's parents might give them a bushel of crabs. There just was no money."

She accompanied her husband to Ames Methodist Church in Pikesville, where he was pastor from 1934 to 1940. He was then sent to Westminster Methodist Church, serving from 1940 until being named president of the college in 1947. On the Westminster campus, Mrs. Ensor instituted a series of annual dinners for small groups of freshmen to get to know each student better and held gatherings for faculty members and their spouses. She taught freshman English at the college in the 1950s.

"She did a tremendous amount of entertaining," said her daughter, retired chairwoman of the Towson University biology department.

Mr. Ensor was the college's president until 1972, and died in 1975. His wife moved to Baltimore and resided in the 4100 block of N. Charles St. in Guilford.

In 1983, she wed the Rev. Robert Hutson Parker, former president of Wesley College in Dover, Del., and they made their home at Asbury Methodist Village. Mr. Parker died in 1998.

Mrs. Parker was a former member of the Woman's Club of Roland Park and the American Association of University Women. She enjoyed traveling and embroidering smocked dresses for family members.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at Western Maryland College's Baker Chapel in Westminster.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by two granddaughters and two great-grandchildren.

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