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Official Obituary of

Mary ''Polly'' Parker Elniff

January 22, 1942 ~ March 20, 2024 (age 82) 82 Years Old

Mary ''Polly'' Elniff Obituary

Mary Parker Elniff, known as Polly nearly universally, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday morning, March 20, 2024. Everyone who knew her will miss her—whether she was Aunt Polly, Ms. Polly, Granny, GaGa, Mrs. Elniff, or Mom, she touched lives and made friends wherever she was.

Polly was born in Camden, Maine on January 22, 1942, to Stanley Brampton Parker (Jr.) and Helen Stewart Kellogg. In 1957, the family, including her brother George Stanley Parker, moved to Sarasota, Florida, where Polly lived until she finished college at Florida State University. Her roommate, Madge Fleece, was also her maid of honor, and lifelong friend.

She moved to Asheville, NC in 1968 to take a position at Ben Lippen School, where she met her lifelong friend, Eileen McCloy Fritz, and also a history teacher named Terry. She and Terry married in 1971 and raised their three kids there at the school.

Polly leaves behind her brother, George, and his wife, Carolyn; her son Chris and his wife, Kim; her daughter, Cathy, and husband Colin (Nell and John); and her son Sam and his wife, Sarah (Micah and Polly), along with cousins and nieces and their families. Polly’s husband, Terrill I. Elniff, preceded her to glory in September 2021.

Mom lived a life filled with service to others, both professionally and privately. She worked for God’s World Publications for many years, cleaning the building late in the evening and early in the morning. She loved to take care of young moms by offering babysitting, meals, and housekeeping or laundry as needed. She encouraged those moms to get out of the house and go for a walk with a friend. She survived her own early mothering years by walking and jogging and talking with her dear friends.

She spent significant time every morning reading and studying Scripture, praying earnestly for long lists of people and needs, and faithfully attended church services and Tuesday morning Bible study. She loved music “almost as much” as she loved Scripture so in her last months at the nursing home, she was learning how to navigate Spotify on her own tablet. Audrey Assad’s “Inheritance” and Handel’s Messiah were particular favorites.

After the cancer took away her independence, she wasn’t able to walk in the sunshine, but she could certainly still enjoy being in the sun. After chemo took away most of her hair, she discovered how much she liked wearing a faux-hawk with her remaining fluff. After she began living in the nursing home, she learned the joy of not being responsible to fix her own meals or clean her own home. She felt like a queen there, having people at her beck and call. She referred to it as her castle.

She had a bountiful capacity for joy—silliness, playfulness, goofy faces and noises and made-up words, improvised songs and ditties, and so much more. She loved reading, knitting, having people over, cooking with her grandkids, playing with her grand-dogs Jake and Pancake, or the neighborhood dogs (Barley, Sally, and Arrow), working on jigsaw puzzles, shopping at thrift stores, and going for walks.

The memorial service for Mom will be held at her church (Covenant Reformed Presbyterian, 281 Edgewood Road) at 4:00pm on Saturday, April 6, with a heavy hors d'oeuvre reception following. Everyone is invited to attend both events, or either. We expect the drop-in reception to begin about 5:30pm and last until 7:00pm.

 As much as she loved flowers and complicated bouquets filled with beauty and scent, a donation in her name to her favorite local thrift store (supporting a children’s home and all its various ministries) would be another fitting way to remember her.
Write to: Black Mountain Home, 80 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain NC 28711.

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Memorial Service
April 6, 2024

4:00 PM
Edgewood Road)


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