Elouise Powers Connors, known to most as “Ellie,” and to others as “Ditty,” age 87, civic leader, environmental activist, loving wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend is singing with the angels in her heavenly home as of November 10, 2016. A nearly 60-year resident of Edinboro, she was born in Cambridge Springs, PA, raised there, and in State College, PA. She was the second child and eldest daughter of the late Elouise and William Powers, a professor of chemistry at the Pennsylvania State University. At the tender age of 19, she suffered the terrible loss, within six weeks, of both her eldest and middle brothers (William and Edward) at the ages of 21 and 13 years. This loss forever impacted her, causing her to be an incredibly loving and giving person. Family was the most important thing in her life to the end. Highly principled and strongly opinionated, she worked to create a better world and to help future generations. Energetic Ellie set an example few can match, and leaves a legacy greater than many of us combined.
Ellie was wife to the late Dr. Robert (Bob) Connors, long-serving professor and department head of Elementary Education at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. A member of Mortar Board Honor Society, Ellie received a B.A. in Journalism from the Pennsylvania State University. She started her diverse career teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Mosiertown, PA, complete with woodstove and outhouse. When it was clear that she was expecting her first child, Ellie was forced to resign. The growing family moved to Warren where she happily raised her children. They moved to Edinboro when Bob joined the faculty of Edinboro State Teacher’s College (now Edinboro University of Pennsylvania). Ellie was busy with her continually expanding family, never missing a game, dance or music recital, or dramatic production. She was an avid seamstress, sewing many of her children’s and her own clothes, dance costumes, and homemade Halloween costumes into the wee hours of the morning. She balanced her life with couples and women’s bridge clubs, singing in the choir, organizing music, cleaning the church (Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Parish), organizing numerous memorable parties and participating in many clubs. She served as a Cub Scout Den Mother and a Parent-Teacher Association member, was active in Faculty Wives Club (Faculty Women’s Club), Heather Garden Club, and Shadbush (Service) Club, and served as President of most of these.
Ellie was an environmental activist since the early 1970’s. She laundered primarily with cold water since the energy crisis of that period. She used phosphate-free detergents to prevent algal growth and fish kills in Edinboro Lake and local streams. When no local recycling was available, she organized recycling at the Washington Township Building. Ellie recruited volunteers (including her children) to sort by color and smash the glass, crush steel and aluminum cans, and collect the newspapers. Seeing another need, she organized volunteers to build a playground using mostly recycled materials (tires, railroad ties, etc.) at the small park on High St. in Edinboro. She halted the filling of “the swamp” in the middle of Edinboro, realizing before most people the value of wetlands on prevent flooding, filtering pollutants, and recharging groundwater. As a National Federation of Garden Clubs member, she worked at the state level earning accreditation and teaching environmental education to increase her efforts. She convinced PennDOT to plant wildflowers, instead of grass, in the median strips on highways statewide, for beautification and to save energy on mowing. Ellie and Bob lead many efforts in tree planting in town and at the college.
As though Ellie wasn’t busy enough, she returned to college in her early 40’s and received an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Edinboro State Teacher’s College and worked as a substitute teacher. In her mid-40’s she retooled again, becoming a Realtor and receiving her Broker’s license. She delighted in finding homes for many residents of the area and sold real estate for over 25 years with Latimer in Fairview, ERA and Coldwell Banker, where she served as Office Manager and Assistant Broker. As a businesswoman, she petitioned the new Edinboro Kiwanis Club to accept women into the then all-male club. To the end she was a very active Kiwanian: using her journalism training, she wrote monthly articles for them published in the Edinboro Independent-Enterprise News. She sang to the residents at the Edinboro Manor and donated books there through Kiwanis. Her most recent effort was a research journal and photographic production of the Edinboro Kiwanis Club history. She was a founding member of Goodell Gardens, as a friend and neighbor to the former Goodell sisters.
She was preceded in death by her husband the late Robert Connors, and two brothers, the late William and Edward Connors of State College, PA. Also preceding her in death was her daughter, the late Robin Connors (Janice Dreshman) of Pittsburgh, PA. Ellie will be sorely missed by her other children: Michael of Northampton, MA, Timothy of Mount Horeb, WI, Kathryn (Ira) Sasowsky of Akron, OH, Elizabeth (Ross) Connors-Keith of Eureka, CA, Christopher (Lisa) of Lexington, VA, and Keith (Lynette) of Eugene, OR. Surviving also are grandchildren: Brendon and Ian Connors, Claire and Evan Sasowsky, Hayley and Molly Connors-Keith, Mauri and Kevin Connors, and Corey, Kaitlyn, Liam, and Maeve Connors. She is also survived by her sister, Sylvia Poorman, of Grand Haven, MI, brother, David (Mary) Powers of Clinton, WA, sisters-in-law, Martha Keys of Clymer, NY and Margaret Connors of West Springfield, and brother-in-law, William Connors of Girard, PA, as well as cousins throughout the country. She leaves behind numerous nephews, nieces, as well as many friends of all ages.
The Glunt Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., Edinboro, is in charge of funeral arrangements.
The funeral mass will be at 11 AM Mon., Nov. 14 at Our Lady of Lake Catholic Church, Edinboro, PA, with a reception to follow. There will be no viewing. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a scholarship set up by Elouise and Bob for undergraduates majoring in elementary education. Checks should be written to "Edinboro University," with a notation that it is for the "Dr. Robert and Elouise Connors Education Scholarship" and sent to Advancement Office, Edinboro University, Alumni House, 210 Meadville Street, Edinboro, PA 16444. Or go to https://your.edinboro.edu/online-donation, choose the drop-down designation “other” and type in Connors Scholarship in the next box.