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Ellen M. Posivak

October 30, 1912 — March 7, 2017

Ellen M. Posivak (ne Sauers) died in Bethlehem on March 7, 2017 at age 104. She was born October 30, 1912 in Lehighton, PA, to John and Edith (Steigerwalt) Sauers. Ellen often reminded us that her birth year coincided with the sinking of the Titanic and, ironically, her early life was filled with multiple tragedies that included the death of her mother in 1918 when Ellen was six, followed by the death of her grandfather in a railroad accident, and the loss of her brother Tom in a sledding accident.

Ellen was loved and admired by her family and friends as a genuine and fastidious woman, and as a child and woman who overcame many cruel adversities to persevere and make the very most of her life. When she was just nine, Ellen developed a severe bone infection in one knee. This was prior to the use of antibiotics, resulting in a year-long hospitalization away from her family plus 12 surgeries. She narrowly avoided amputation or worse, death, thanks to a brave new surgeon from Johns Hopkins taking her case. Although the last surgery resulted in a fused kneecap that would never allow her to again bend her leg, she never let it stop her in any aspect of her life.

When Ellen graduated from Liberty High School in 1932, she intended to become an RN. Despite an excellent academic record, her application to nursing school was denied due to her knee disability. She was crushed, but knew she had to find a career, so she attended beauty school. Ellen enjoyed a hair styling career in Bethlehem, providing the latest styles - from the 1930s marcel wave, 1940s bouffant and pompadours, 1950s poodle and pixie cuts, and 1960s beehives to 1970s shags. Ellen loved to travel for fun and for hair styling training, including trips to Paris, New York City, and other major locales. She also managed Ronnies Salon on Broadway for many years until her retirement at age 65.

Ellen and Andrew J. Posivak met at a baseball game in Bethlehem in the 1930s, married, and were blessed with two children, Barbara Lee (Posivak) Perry and Philip J. Posivak, who predeceased her. Andy spent his career with Bethlehem Steel and passed away in 1971.

Ellens favorite hobby was gardening. She loved spending time in the yard of her home and was an active member of the Bethlehem Garden Club. She also loved listening to fine music, the library and reading, daily crossword puzzles and Jeopardy, and playing cards with “the girls”. She also volunteered at the Miller-Keystone Blood Center for over 10 years and was a long-time member of Notre Dame of Bethlehem Catholic Church.

Ellen loved to explore the countryside surrounding the Lehigh Valley and was an active traveler who relished in her memories of European, Caribbean, and many American travels. Her sharp and inquisitive mind, genuine interest in people, and excellent conversational style gained her many friends over her 104 years of life.

Our family would like to thank all the friends and family who steadfastly kept in touch with and visited Ellen after her moves to Country Meadows and Cedarbrook. This includes Christian Lawson, who late in her stay there cared for Ellen at Country Meadows and then regularly visited her at Cedarbrook and with whom she had a special friendship. His visits were genuine highlights of her day. Our special love and thanks especially go to her dear friend, Julia Bensen, RN, of Bethlehem, who for many years provided friendship, counsel, primary care and attention as she willingly served as Grandmothers medical representative and general advocate. For her loyalty and kindness, we are forever grateful.

Ellens wonderful long life and good health are celebrated by her family and friends, including granddaughters and their spouses Carolyn Vellar & Scott Wilkerson and Julia & Bill Sherriff of the Kansas City area, and Linda Smith of Visalia, California, and Ellens 10 great-grandchildren and 19 great-great grandchildren!

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2017, at 1 p.m. at Connell Funeral Home. The family requests no flowers. Memorial contributions in her honor may be made to Notre Dame Church of Bethlehem, 1861 Catasauqua Rd, Bethlehem, PA 18018.

Memorial Service
Saturday, October 28, 2017
1:00 PM
Connell Funeral Home, Inc.
245 East Broad St.
Bethlehem PA 18018

Funeral HomeConnell Funeral Home, Inc.
245 East Broad St.
Bethlehem PA - 18018

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