A celebration of life service for Ethel Born will be held on Friday, May 2, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. in the Wesley Theological Seminary Chapel, 4500 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC. There will be a reception on campus following the service.
BORN, ETHEL WOLFE
Ethel Wolfe Born, age 90, passed away on March 26, 2014. She and her husband, Harry, were active members of Wesley United Methodist Church in Vienna, Virginia, for over 40 years. They came to live in Salem in 1985 and joined Locust Grove United Methodist Church. Ethel later joined First United Methodist Church in Salem.
An active member of First United Methodist, Ethel served her local church in many capacities. She was on the Executive Committee of First Church United Methodist Women, and was a member of Circle Five United Methodist Women. She started the New Beginnings Sunday School Class, a discussion-based learning community, and also led that group for many years. She also encouraged First Church to adopt a missionary, Elma Jocson, MD, and she kept in touch with Dr. Jocson on behalf of the church.
Ethel Born is well known because of her leadership roles in The United Methodist Church and particularly through United Methodist Women. In her work with the Women’s Division and as vice president of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, she traveled internationally, visiting mission work in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean, and spoke about these experiences at many conference and local groups in the United States. In 1989 the Women’s Division published her first book, A Tangled Web: A Search for Answers to the Question of Palestine. It describes her experience of leading a Women’s Division study team to the Middle East and her subsequent involvement at the United Nations where she chaired the North American Coordinating Committee for Non-governmental organizations on the Question of Palestine. Her second book, By My Spirit (1990), a history of Methodist Protestant women in mission 1879-1939,
offers contemporary readers the opportunity to relive with these remarkable women events of an earlier time. From Memory to Hope (2000), is a narrative history of the areas of the World Federation of Methodist Women, while her book Candlesticks (2004) focused on Methodist Women putting their faith to work in Virginia.
In addition to her life-long dedication to church service, Ethel Born was actively involved in the local community. She was a member of the Roanoke Valley Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and graduated from Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, Virginia, with an independent major in Religion, Women, and Global Issues. She also served several terms on the Board of Trustees of Ferrum College, had strong connections to Ferrum’s Blue Ridge Institute, and recently prepared a booklet chronicling the first 100 years of partnership between Ferrum College and Methodist Women. A member and past president of the Roanoke Valley Unit of the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP), she recently researched and wrote an account of the 50-year history of the local Unit.
Ethel was also a member of the National League of American Pen Women; her final book From Horse and Buggy to High-Tech (2013), told the stories of rural letter carriers in Virginia.
Ethel was an avid craftswoman and a member of the HandWeavers Guild of the New River Valley. A ‘cathedral’ quilt made for her daughter Barbara won an award in a quilt show at the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival at Ferrum College in 1990.
Mrs. Born was one of three children born to Otto and Nancy Wolfe of Kasson, West Virginia. She was the beloved wife of Harry Edward Born (deceased) and the mother of Rosemary Ellen Bauer (deceased) and Barbara Anne Craig. She is survived by her brother, Howard Dale Wolfe, of Vienna, Virginia, and her daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Jerry Craig, of Salem.