Ellen Elizabeth McNichol Thress - Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory

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.


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12 Condolences for Ellen Elizabeth McNichol Thress

  • My deepest and most sincere condolences to the family.
    Your loss is overwhelmingly sad as Ellen begins her eternity with our Lord. But your memories live on.
    Cherish her loving ways, remember all the little things she said & did that made you feel so “Special”.
    Most of all take joy in knowing she is with our Savior.
    May God Bless and watch over you all.

  • Keeping the Thress family in my thoughts and prayers as during this difficult time.

  • I will truly miss talking to Ellen on the phone. Also she new me well and was always welcoming me and my family.

  • Sending our prayers and deepest condolences to the children of our beloved Aunt Ellen. As I got to know her once I married into the family, Aunt Ellen has always shown her support, love, adorable sense of humor and selflessness to all of us I would often hear how Aunt Ellen and Uncle Ed invited my husband and all their nephews and nieces over summer break to treat them and play by the beach. Uncle Ed and Aunt Ellen have always attended the special events in this large family to offer their well wishes and their pearls of wisdom, as they did at our wedding. And we only wish we can hold a candle to their love, generosity and wisdom. There are few couples who love each other as much as this couple did on this planet, and they will continue to do so! I (we) will miss our Aunt immensely. Sending much love, Steve & Olympia (Lilly) Kallman

  • My heart goes out to the family. You have lost a very special one. Hold on to your memories and know that even though she isn’t with you physically, I believe she is spiritually. Peace and love ❤️

  • God be with you Pastor Mike and your whole family at this sad time. But I know you are all rejoicing in your sadness knowing that Ellen is now at peace and joyful in heaven with
    God where she was prepared to be—her final journey eternally.
    Ellen’s recently published book has a poem which she shared with me recently called-
    “If I could Live Until I Die” –
    I’ ve made it one of my prayers .
    Thank you dear Ellen. Your strong faith in God and your deep caring for all people has been a deep inspiration for me.

  • My deepest condolences to the Thress family. My prayers are with all of you as you mourn your beautiful Mom’s loss but celebrate a life so well lived.

  • I have wrote this and erased it so many time because there are just not anywords that seem to express how much my heart hurts for you Julie and your family! No one ever told us how hard it would be to lose our parents and even though I know it is the way it is “suppose” to be it still hurts like no other pain I have ever dealt with. Please if you need anything let me know even if it just to talk I’m here if you need me!

  • Ellen was a remarkable woman and I admired her warmth and ability to connect with people on any occasion. She will be missed but I know she is where she wants to be with her Lord.

  • To Pastor Mike and family
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you

    From Deanna Jeff Samantha Dennison and Johanne Riddell

  • Dear Julie & her brothers…what a testament to your mother from her children in your care & honor of her…may your lives always be blessed and may her example be a legacy for all of you, your children & grandchildren as well…may her memory bring you peace…🙏♥️

  • My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you. She was such a sweet lady. Hugs to all.