Mary Ellen (Walkley) Frackenpohl, 88, was called home to God on Monday, March 8th, 2021. She was a loving and supportive wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was also a gracious lady, intuitive gardener, gifted musician and teacher, inspirational preacher, and a good friend to many.
Her strong faith and love of family nurtured her throughout her life.
Born in Leroy, New York in 1932 and raised on the Walkley farm. Mary Ellen was involved in music from an early age and chose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Music Education at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY. She married Arthur Frackenpohl in 1954 and raised 4 sons in addition to involvement in the Potsdam school board, founding member of the Potsdam Food Coop and a strong leader in the Presbyterian church.
She was a prodigious flute performer and teacher for many years, affiliated with both the Crane School and St. Lawrence University in nearby Canton.
Mary Ellen eventually became a lay pastor for the Presbyterian church in Waddington, NY from 1987-2007. She enjoyed inspiring, challenging, and building a caring church community. She was also instrumental in advocating for small rural churches and helped found MINC (Ministry in the North Country).
Mary Ellen was strong willed, wise, and compassionate. You always knew where you stood with her, and she was direct with her opinions and ideas.
She was enthusiastic in her passion to help others, and worked tirelessly to make life better for those in her family, congregation and in the community she lived in.
Mary Ellen enjoyed traveling, an intriguing mystery novel, a hearty laugh, a good cup of English tea, and working in her gardens. Her gardens became her personal sanctuary.
She is predeceased by her husband and life companion, Art, after 64 years of marriage. She is survived by her sons; James (George Corella), Steven (Sandra), David (Jane) and Thomas. Her four grandchildren; Jason (Stacy Esslinger), Andrew (Stephanie), Abby (Alex Borg) and Alex. Five great grandchildren; Eliza, Annabelle, Juniper, Theo and Milo.
A memorial service will be scheduled this coming summer or fall, when we can gather safely to celebrate her wonderful life. She will be interred with her husband at Bayside Cemetery in Potsdam.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests you help Mary Ellen’s memory live on through memorial contributions to the Potsdam College Foundation, 44 Pierrepont Avenue, Potsdam, NY 13676. All contributions will be added to the Mary Ellen Walkley Frackenpohl ’54 Student Ensemble Travel Endowment, which has been making student ensemble travel possible at The Crane School of Music since 2004. Onward, and many thanks for a life well lived and shared.
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