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Ella May "Ellie" Davenport

Ella May "Ellie" Davenport, 82, passed away Saturday in St. Luke's Hospice House in Bethlehem, Pa., surrounded by people who loved her.

She resided in Nazareth, Pa., and the Wyoming Campground in Harding.

Born in Evanston, Ill., Ella was the fourth of five daughters of the late Robert Dixon Baird and Elizabeth Brown Baird.

An accomplished cellist, Ella played in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and Interlochen Music Camp and went on to study music at the Oberlin College Music Conservatory.

While attending Oberlin College of Ohio, she met her husband, Harry Davenport. She moved to Northeastern Pennsylvania, was married 17 years and raised six children.

On the day-care staff of the Child Development Center in Wilkes-Barre for 27 years, Ellie enjoyed working directly with children. She served as president of the center's union. Many children and staff benefited from her storytelling and singing. Her rendition of "The Three Little Pigs" is famous for its humor and feminist perspective.

Throughout her life, Ella enjoyed traveling. Family vacations included Michigan and Florida. After retiring, her travels included England, Sumatra and El Salvador. The picture above was taken on a beach in El Salvador. Ella battled Stage 4 cancer for 19 months but would not let it stop or defeat her.

Ella was preceded in death by her three older sisters: Mary Geitman and Barb Vogel of White Lake, Mich.; and Janet Jacek of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She is survived by her younger sister, Carolyn, of North Fort Myers, Fla., and White Lake, Mich.; six children, Harold, of Harford; Robert, of Wilkes-Barre; Michael, of Wilkes-Barre; Stephen, of Towanda; Ella May, of Hazleton; and James, of Dunmore; 13 grandchildren; one great-grandson; and more than 40 nieces and nephews.

Ella is also survived by her companion, Dr. Charles Marshall Cook. For eight years they shared a home, humor, a love of literature and zest for life. Together they hosted Nurhafni Hutataean of Indonesia with a student visa to study in the United States. Nurhafni, a licensed practical nurse, married Matthew Yengel in 2009, gained American citizenship, and now has a daughter, Sophia, the newest "granddaughter" of Ella and Charlie.

Ella was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Wilkes-Barre, where she served as an elder. In Nazareth, she was an active member of the Nazareth Book Club and the Bible Study class. She was always willing to share her opinion in favor of equal rights for all people and will be remembered for her creative vocabulary in the endeavor.

A memorial service celebrating Ella's life will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Westminster Presbyterian Church in Wilkes-Barre. Visitation with family will be from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Ella's ashes will be placed in the memorial garden at Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church in North Fort Myers, Fla.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be sent to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2 Lockhart St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.

Published in Times Leader on June 18, 2013
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