Ellen Elizabeth McNichol Thress
February 17, 1935 - November 27, 2022
Ellen Elizabeth McNichol Thress, age 87, of Newark, DE, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loving family on Sunday, November 27, 2022, joining her husband, Ed for one final journey into eternal paradise.
Born in Union City, NJ on February 17, 1935, she was a daughter of the late George and Agnes (Schlaupitz) McNichol. The family lived in Weehawken, NJ, until their house was purchased to make way for the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel. Ellen was less than a year old at the time. After renting a home in Rahway for a while, the family moved into the house Ellen grew up in in Ridgewood, NJ, in late 1937.
Ellen met her husband, Edwin Thress, when he was a vicar at the Lutheran church in nearby Fair Lawn. The couple began dating in July of 1959 and married on June 11, 1960.
In addition to being a pastor’s wife, Ellen was active in her own right within the churches where the couple served, beginning in Hagerstown, MD, and through stops in Middle River, MD; Roanoke, VA; Salisbury, MD; and Rehoboth Beach, DE.
Ellen became a mother in 1966, when she gave birth to her daughter, Julie. A stillbirth followed, then three sons, Thomas (1968), Carl (1970), and Michael (1972).
The Thress home was a welcome place for friends, neighbors, and her children’s classmates. Warm smiles, cups of tea, and pleasant conversation were a staple of Ellen’s home. That tradition continued throughout her life, as she welcomed friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, grandkids, and great-grandkids into her home.
Ellen believed in the importance of a good education. A Girl Scout leader, Cub Scout den mother, Great Books volunteer, and active parent, she saw to it that her children (and their classmates) received opportunities to learn and grow. As a seamstress, she often volunteered to help alter band uniforms and help out with costumes for various school productions.
As a Sunday School teacher, Ellen helped young people across multiple generations explore and grow their faith. In recent years, she led Bible studies with some of the women in her apartment complex, as well.
A gifted writer, Ellen expressed her faith, beliefs, and observations through poetry and prose. She even wrote scripts, made costumes, and performed one-woman shows to church groups and vacation Bible school kids, portraying various heroines from the Bible and making them relatable to today. She shared her love of writing with her children, as well, and encouraged them in all of their pursuits. Earlier this year, she published a memoir, My Journey Through Life, a compilation of musings and writings from throughout her life.
Travel was important to Ellen, and she and Ed made sure the family took many trips together as the kids were growing up. They even took several of their grandchildren with them on vacations later in life, as circumstances allowed.
After Ed’s retirement, the couple traveled across the country and back again on US Route 50, traveling from Sacramento, CA, to Ocean City, MD, along the historic highway. In retirement, they continued traveling as they could, visiting family, friends, and places they had never been before.
In addition to her parents, Ellen was preceded in death by her loving husband, Edwin William Thress. She is survived by her four children, Julie Carter, Thomas Thress (Wendy), Carl Thress (Marie), and Michael Thress; her older sister, Agnes McNichol Webb; Julie’s children, Eli Holcolmbe (Ryan), Jonathan Schilling (Taylor), Joleen De Luz (Travis), Carolyn Sweeney (Billy), Theodore Schilling (Lindsey), Nathanial Schilling (Seth), and Christiana Cortes (Ricardo); Tom’s sons, Damian and Brandon; Carl’s boys, Peter and Nicolas; Mike’s children, Ray, Luke, Alli, and Leah; her 10 great-grandchildren; her sister-in-law, Winnie Thress Dress; her beloved nieces and nephews; and innumerable friends made throughout her remarkable life.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 11 am on Saturday, December 3, 2022, at Faith Lutheran Church, 2265 Red Lion Road, Bear, DE 19701, where a funeral service will begin at 11 am. Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ellen’s memory to the Faith Lutheran Church at the address listed above.