Ellyn Suzanne Messinger

Ellyn Suzanne “Sue” Messinger died peacefully on Monday, December 7, 2020 after a long battle with Lewy Body Dementia. Sue was born on Dec. 6, 1942 to Howard M. Gerson and Ellyn Gerson (née Geyer) as third of their four children. Raised in Springfield, PA, she and her siblings Ginny (the bossy one), Bill (the only son), and Judy (her partner in crime) enjoyed church activities, music, going to the city and the beach, and sometimes sharing a car for many years.

After high school graduation, Sue took some “secretarial courses” and worked at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. She also worked retail, where she met Owen Messinger, the love of her life, who she married in 1965. Raised an American Baptist, Sue converted to Judaism for the marriage and became, like most converts, the most observant Jew in the family. Sue and Owen remained married, mostly happily (unless she was running late again or he was grumpy from work) until his untimely death in 1995.


Sue and her family moved to Willingboro in 1974 and lived in that home until she moved into hospice. She loved her neighbors and her racially and culturally diverse community. She was a very active participant at the John F. Kennedy Recreation Center in her later life, enjoying the van transport and working out with her friends. She was a longtime, active member of Adath Emanu-El from the time it was located in Willingboro; she sang in the choir, participated in sisterhood, and made chicken soup for synagogue Shabbat dinners.


Over the course of her life, Sue worked as a medical secretary, in retail, and in mortgage processing. She also worked hard to be a good wife, a wonderful mother to her three children (Lori, Sandi, and Ethan), and a friend to all she encountered. She spent a lot of time in the car, taking her children to ball games, voice lessons, karate lessons, and Hebrew School, though she wasn’t always on time. She attended more choir, band, and theater performances than most parents, often seeing shows 3 or 4 times. She loved her children fiercely, and she was always there when she was needed.


A loving nurturer to her core, she was committed to helping people in need. She gave to charities throughout her life, even when she was on a fixed income. She cared for her mother-in-law Eleanor in her home when Eleanor was struggling with dementia. She also partnered with her sister Judy to provide loving support for their older sister Ginny when she was dying. Sue would go on to provide care in her home for her father, her husband, and her sister-in-law Marilyn Feldschneider during their transitions. She recognized the need for loving support and understanding for those who were at the end of their lives, and she provided it with great care, patience, and love.


Sue also loved to have fun. She loved singing and dancing, and often could be found singing along to music. She enjoyed traveling abroad, first with her husband to Hong Kong, Turkey, Greece, and Germany, and later, in her 60s, when she made her first trip to Israel with her daughter, Sandra. Sue always wore a smile and loved to visit with her friends: Pearl Caro, Lorraine Bittner, and Judy Taitz. They spent many days together at the movies, attending the theater, enjoying celebrations at the temple, and touring Longwood Gardens, which was her favorite place in the world.


She is survived by her children, Lori Messinger (Boo Tyson), Sandra Messinger Aguilar (David Aguilar), and Ethan Messinger; her sister, Judith Broderick (Bill Broderick); and many Messinger and Gerson nieces and nephews and their children. The family will hold a graveside service on Thursday, December 10 at 1pm that will be live streamed through the PLATT MEMORIAL CHAPELS Facebook Page. The family would ask that donations be made in Sue’s name to Adath Emanu-El, 205 Elbo Lane, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054.


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