Ellen Ash Scheer, 90, of Roxbury, died Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009, just two days before her 91st birthday. She was born in Cordell, Okla., the daughter of A.R. Ash, a lawyer and Gertrude Harlow Ash, a teacher of piano.
Ellen had been living in Roxbury with her daughter, Virginia Scheer.
She was a mathematician, a computer systems analyst, a champion tennis player, but most of all, a teacher. In 1938 at the University of Oklahoma she was uniquely honored with both the Letseizer Award as the outstanding female graduate and the Dad’s Day Cup for the outstanding student.
After gaining a master’s degree in mathematics, Ellen taught for a year, then spent World War II in California, working at North American Aviation with the team that designed the P-51 Mustang fighter plane. In 2001, at the age of 83, she was finally able to fly the plane, a peak experience in her life. After the war she raised her daughter, then went back to teaching first at Eastern Oklahoma A & M College, then at Stephens College in Columbia, MO. She returned to Oklahoma to work in the new field of computers at the Federal Aviation Administration, then went back to Missouri to teach mathematics and to earn a second master’s degree in computer science. She finished her career teaching handicapped students computer skills for employment. As her friend Elizabeth Muller says, “whether she was teaching handicapped students computer, or tennis to African-American children in segregate Oklahoma City, she always reached out to people from a very authentic place in her spirit.”
During this time Ellen was very active in the Unitarian Churches in Missouri and Oklahoma and she consistently won tennis tournaments in both states.
After retirement, she worked and volunteered in literacy and at Peace House in Oklahoma City, tutored college mathematics, taught computer in Shanghai, China, sponsored a Chinese student in the United States and participated in a dance troupe for special youth.
Surviving are her daughter, Virginia Scheer; her adoring sister, Jean; her dear brother-in-law, John Amick; her devoted grandson, Jose Scheer and many loving nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her beloved brother Russell Ash and his wife, Polly; and her former husband, Bradley Scheer.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5 at the Jay Gould Memorial Reformed Church, Roxbury with the Rev. Richard Dykstra officiating.
Another memorial service will be held at a later date in Oklahoma City.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Catskill Area Hospice who provided thoughtful, comforting care to Ellen and her family.
Arrangement are by the Miller Funeral Home, Roxbury.