Mary Ellen Slack of Butler, PA died on Monday, May 16, 2022 at Newhaven Court at Clearview following a brief illness. She was 86. Ellen, as she was known to most people, was born on a farm outside Fairmont, MN where she started her education in a one-room schoolhouse. In first grade her family purchased a farm near Armstrong, Iowa, where they lived when Ellen graduated from Armstrong High School.
The first person in her family to attend college, Ellen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition/Dietetics from Iowa State University. Upon completing her dietetic internship at the University of Oregon Medical Center, she obtained a position at the University of Illinois where she met her future husband, Walter Slack.
In 1959 the couple was married in Armstrong. They moved to New Wilmington, PA in 1963 so that Walter could begin his 33-year teaching career in the Political Science Department at Westminster College. In 1968 the couple moved to nearby New Castle, PA, where they lived for 45 years before moving to Butler.
In New Castle, Ellen worked as a consultant for the Visiting Nurses Association and Head Start and taught nutrition for 29 years at Saint Francis School of Nursing. A highlight of her professional career was her quarter-century of dedication to the Lawrence County Area Agency on Aging (a program of Catholic Charities), where she played an instrumental role in developing Challenges: Options in Aging, a 15,000-square-foot innovative community facility offering programs and services to adults age 50 and over. For her work, she was recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging with an award for exceptional service.
Ellen was active in the Lawrence County Cancer Coalition; numerous activities of the Epworth United Methodist Church, where she was a member; and state and national dietetic organizations. After moving to Butler, she became a member of First United Methodist Church. She enjoyed reading, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Ellen was preceded in death by her mother and father, Doris and Alfred Peterson of Armstrong, Iowa and her husband of 58 years, Walter Slack. In Butler, she is survived by her daughter, Carolyn (Ned) Hemphill and grandchildren, Caitlyn and Colton. She is also survived by her sons and their families: Greg of Flagstaff, Arizona, and Jeff of Pittsburgh.
The family extends tremendous gratitude to Newhaven, VNA Hospice Western PA, all of Ellen’s other caregivers and so many loving friends for their compassion and support during this difficult time.
At Ellen’s request, there will be no viewing or funeral. A memorial service may be held at a later date. As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to Challenges: Options in Aging in New Castle.
Arrangements were entrusted to Thompson-Miller Funeral Home, Inc., 124 East North Street, Butler, PA 16001.
Website condolences may be made at www.thompson-miller.com.