Community Homes April Resident of the Month devotes her life to being helpful to others.
Although not an “official” Resident Helper, Willow Terrace resident Mary Ellen Eck is always quick to volunteer when it comes to offering a hand or helpful advice to her fellow residents at Willow Terrace. This quality has earned her the official recognition as the April Community Homes “Resident of the Month.” She is a popular and respected neighbor to all.
Mary Ellen has led a life that can be described as “simple as it can be.” She was born and raised in Lebanon. Her schooling was thru the local Lebanon Catholic School System. She grew up in one place she called home, a rented house at 445 North 5th Street in Lebanon. The breadwinners were her parents, mother Marie Ruth Eck and Father Charles W. Eck, Charles was a career employee at Bethlehem Steel in Lebanon.
She graduated in 1959 from Lebanon Catholic High School and went to work at the Dutch Miss Clothing Factory. This remained her place of employment for many years.
This changed in 2008, when she joined the local Literacy Council. Her mentoring skills thrived in this environment, as she was able to mentor others and enhance their interest in reading. Mary Ellen to this day considers herself a “reader”.
At the urging of friends, she applied and subsequently moved into Willow Terrace. “It was a blessing,” she recalls, “the original house was in disrepair, so moving here was the best thing I could have done. My apartment is quiet, clean, and safe. Having friends and the Community Homes staff surround me is helpful.”
Mary Ellen had a brother William, who had career as a Navy Chief Petty officer and a twin sister Rosemarie, who passed in her early forties of breast cancer. A high school classmate of the Eck sisters, Jean O’Sullivan remembers them well. “Mary Ellen was quiet and reserved. Rosemarie was beautiful and outgoing. She married a man named Harry Weaver. They settled in Texas. Rosemarie operated a gym there. It is a shame she died so young. “
If you want to see Mary Ellen change personalities, just mention Elvis Presley. She is a lifelong Elvis Fan. She, of course, collected the “required” t-shirts, mugs, and records as a teenager. And she showed her spirit recently when an Elvis impersonator filled the community room at Willow Terrace with a performance that they are all talking about.
A devout Catholic, Mary Ellen walks across the street from Willow Terrace to occasional daily mass at St. Mary’s church on North 8th Street. And she is a regular for morning coffee at the Willow Terrace Community room.
Mary Ellen Eck lives a relaxed and quiet life at Willow Terrace. She deserves it.