In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Mary Ellison, 1936-2023 

Mary Ellison, 1936-2023 
IMB Photo

Mary Ellison, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Indonesia, died Sept. 25, 2023, in Appleton, Wisconsin. She was 87.

Mary was born Jan. 2, 1936, to the late William Oscar and Frances (Rowland) Gordon. She graduated from Pompano Beach High School, Pompano Beach, Florida, and received the Bachelor of Arts from Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, Tennessee, and her master’s degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Mary married Kenneth Z. Ellison on June 15, 1958, in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The Ellisons planted Eastside Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, before God called them to missions.

In 1967, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed Mary and Kenneth missionaries to Indonesia. They served there for 32 years. Their years of service in the country were characterized by harsh environmental circumstances, socialism and government restrictions. Still, they were a steadfast missionary presence.

The Christian Index reported that Lloyd Blackwell, longtime member of Eastside Baptist Church who joined the Ellisons on mission trips to Indonesia commented, “Mary was one of the finest examples of Christianity I have ever personally known. I was blessed to serve together in a support effort with Mary and Ken in their dedicated missionary lives for many years.

“I even visited them in Indonesia on the mission field. I can attest with first-hand knowledge of their consistent 100 percent dedication to serve our Lord with their best efforts in all those years. Mary was always a sparkplug to ignite/encourage our best efforts for our Lord.”

Mary is survived by her husband, Rev. Kenneth Z. Ellison; children, Edward Brent Ellison of Philadelphia and Melissa Suzanne (Paul) Elllison-Franzmeier of New London; four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Private graveside prayers were offered by Rev. Paul Franzmeier. A Celebration of Life will be held later in Marietta-Atlanta, Georgia.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity.  

Read an obituary here