Mary Ellenbogen was an elegant lady of 85. She lived five doors down from us. Mary was a master gardener and the front of her house was meticulous.
She was spry, walking all over the neighborhood. Her husband Bernard, a well-regarded retired lawyer over a decade her senior was less robust. They’d both head for the street corner. She’d get there then go back and walk the rest of the way with him. She was very vital and extremely devoted to her spouse.
Our daughter was just a baby, but Mary would talk with her when we met on the street. Mrs. E. was very interested in our daughter’s well-being.
I met her before my wife did. When introducing our neighbor to my wife, I said, “This is Mrs. Ellenbogen.” My wife heard, “This is Mrs. Ellen Bogen,” which is understandable. When I went door-to-door carrying petitions for local political candidates, she’d usually invite me into her home, and we’d chat a bit.
The Ellenbogans wintered in Florida for about half the year. On March 12, 2005, Mr. Ellenbogan fell into their pool down in the Sunshine State. She jumped in after him, and they both drowned. Her death was a particular shock to us and to the neighborhood.
The house was sold but it quickly fell into serious disrepair. It went through a couple people’s hands. We recently noticed that the current owner has brought the house back. It’s nowhere near Mary Ellenbogen standards, mind you, but better than it had been.
When I was looking for my father’s death certificate in late January, so I could get his birth certificate, I also came across the obituary for Bernard and Mary Ellenbogen.
Bernard went to Albany High, NYS Teachers College (the precursor to SUNY Albany) and Albany Law. He was the oldest practicing attorney in the area. Mary, nee Hershkowitz, was a founder of Women’s Interfaith in Albany. She volunteered at the Cooperative Extension and engaged in other horticultural endeavors.
They were both founding and active members of Congregation Ohav Shalom. The couple was married 66 years.
Coincidentally., March 12 was my parents’ anniversary, though dad had passed away back in 2000. My folks were married only 50 years.