Ellagene's Story

BUCKSPORT - Ellagene Morgan Holder, born May 14, 1929, Chicago, died March 13, in Bucksport.

Mrs. Holder was a public school music educator, who taught children to love music for over fifty years in schools in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Iowa, and Maine.

Mrs. Holder was raised on the north side of Chicago, the beloved only child of Spurgeon and Katharine (Tucker) Morgan. She was a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and Western Illinois University, holding degrees in music education and educational administration. She married R. Ward Holder in 1957, a fellow teacher in the Titusville, Pennsylvania schools. In the early years of their marriage, Mr. Holder entered seminary and completed studies to become a Presbyterian pastor. Mrs. Holder gladly entered the ministry with her husband, supporting him through calls in five states, often serving in music and education ministries. Ward and Ellagene were married for 56 years, a union of love and mutual support that ended only with Rev. Holder's death in January of 2014.

Mrs. Holder was a leader. She was ordained an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and served in the ministry leadership of many congregations. She used her musical talents and training in many community productions and congregations, participating in musical organizations in every community where she lived, as well as being a proud member of the music sorority Delta Omicron. She was a staunch supporter of women in ministry who chaired local and regional committees of the church advocating for women's rights, health, and equity. She was named a Life Member of Presbyterian Women, honoring her many years of service and leadership. She served as an officer of the Davenport, Iowa Education Association and as a state representative to the Iowa State Education Association, part of a life of support for and belief in public school education. She and Rev. Holder served and led in both local and state Democratic parties in Iowa and Maine.

The Holders were the parents of five children, each of whom had their first musical lessons from Mrs. Holder, Katharine (Robert) Schrader; Cynthia (Mark Rich) Holder Rich; R. Ward (Susan Griesmer) Holder; Calvin (Arlene) Holder; and H. Leigh (Jerry Bobo) Holder-Bobo; and the grandparents of 11, all of whom will miss her unstinting and jubilant celebration of their every accomplishment. She will also be missed by her primary caregiver, Marlene Walker, and remembered with thanks by congregations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire and Maine.

Visitation will be Thursday, March 19, from 5-7 p.m. at First Congregational Church, Ellsworth, Maine, and services will be led by the Rev. Nick Davis at First Congregational Church on Friday, March 20, at 10 am. Arrangements by Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home in Ellsworth,ME (207) 667-8325. Memorial contributions may be made to Global Missions - Presbyterian Church(USA) or Hancock County Homecare and Hospice.
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