For Needmore accident victim, 'it was always about family'

Marlene Patricia Ellison remembered as sweet, friendly and fond of games

July 12, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Marlene Patricia Ellison was killed in a one-vehicle accident after her family reported her missing Sunday from her home at 389 Pleasant Grove Road in Needmore, Pa.
Submitted photo

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. — Being with family is what made Marlene Patricia Ellison happy, according to Lois Geibel, Ellison's daughter.

The family still is reeling from the loss of Ellison, 74, who was killed in a one-vehicle accident after her family reported her missing Sunday from her home at 389 Pleasant Grove Road in Needmore, Pa.

"It was very unexpected, so we've all been traumatized, of course. It was highly unlikely for her to do this, but considering the circumstances, we are all doing pretty well," said Geibel of Frederick, Md. "We're a tight family."

According to Pennsylvania State Police, Ellison left her home Sunday morning in a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis that police found crashed Monday at 1401 Lincoln Way West.

The accident occurred Sunday between 8 and 9 a.m., but Ellison was not found until Monday at 6 p.m. when a nearby homeowner noticed tire tracks leading to the accident, police said.

Ellison still was alive when she was found. She was taken to Fulton County Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead by Fulton County Coroner Berley Sounders of blunt-force trauma, police said.

"It's a tragedy. It is unfortunate," said Cpl. William Baker of Pennsylvania State Police in McConnellsburg. "We had the helicopter up, and we were doing what we could looking for her."

Baker said she was found about 10 to 15 miles from her Needmore home.

Ellison was westbound on Lincoln Way West when her car crossed into the eastbound lane, left the road and struck a guard wire from a utility pole head-on, police said.

Her vehicle traveled down a steep embankment into a wooded area, where it came to rest against a tree, police said.

Geibel was shocked by what happened to her mother.

Ellison hadn't driven since January, when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease following the death of her husband, Ralph. They were married 56 years.

Geibel said the trauma of her father's death triggered the onset of Alzheimer's in her mother.

Geibel and her sisters, Karen Ellison, Brenda Ruzanski, Dori White and Lisa Mihm, helped care for their mother. Karen Ellison lived with their mother 90 percent of the time, Geibel said.

But on Saturday, Ellison was alone and decided to drive, Geibel said.

"Saturday, she drove for the first time, and she did well, and she felt good about it," Geibel said. "So she took it upon herself Sunday to just run an errand, and it just didn't happen that way."

While the family might never know why she set out in her car on Sunday, one thing they know for sure is how they want her remembered.

"She was the sweetest lady ever," Geibel said. "She would do anything in the world for anybody. She had no enemies at all. She was friendly and made friends with whomever she came across."

Ellison originally was from Bethesda, Md., and moved to Needmore about 22 years ago with her husband.

"She was a typical Southern belle," Geibel said.

Ellison also like games.

"She liked to play bingo, and she liked to gamble," Geibel said. "She liked to go to Charles Town, W.Va. She liked to go to Las Vegas."

She was pretty proud of an $800 win in California a number of years ago, which Geibel said was "a lot of money back then."

Geibel said the most important thing in her mother's life was family.

"It was all about family for her — her daughters and her sisters — it was always family," Geibel said. "She didn't want for much. Family being together was what made her happy."

Ellison also is survived by 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Services will be handled by Robert A. Pumphrey Funeral Home in Rockville, Md.

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