Elaine Kay Wengert of Mechanicsburg, PA, died at home on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, following a long illness She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Paul A. Wengert, MD; daughter and son-in-law Karin L. and Craig M. Beam of Lewisberry; granddaughters Rylee J. and Paige A. Beam; and siblings Janet K. Abreu (Pittsboro, NC), Larry F. Crider (Thailand), and Gail L. Crider (Hot Springs, NC). She was the daughter of Alfred E. Crider and Martha Wengert Crider, both deceased.
Despite the difficulties of her illness, Elaine remained true to the character that was forged in her early years to the very end, maintaining her gentle demeanor, consummate good manners, and devotion to her family. Born on July 7, 1939, in Reading, PA, Elaine’s early school years were spent living with extended family on her grandparents’ farm in Lebanon County, PA. After graduating from Messiah Academy and attending Messiah College in Grantham, PA she attended Upland College in California before graduating in 1961 from Greenville College in Illinois, with a secondary teaching degree in mathematics.
While teaching in California, she met Paul A. Wengert, a medical student at the time. They married on Dec. 27, 1966, and lived in Philadelphia until his medical practice took them to Harrisburg, PA. During those years she taught mathematics in Philadelphia area schools and then in the Central Dauphin school district.
After the birth of their daughter in 1970, Elaine pivoted from public school teaching to volunteer work supporting her daughter’s school activities, her church (Grantham Brethren in Christ), and the medical community. Active in Polyclinic Medical Center’s Auxiliary for several decades, she served as its president in 1990. Her interest in math and numbers led to an Associate Degree in Accounting from Harrisburg Area Community College in 1988, which she put to use for a number of years in her church and in her husband’s medical practice. She participated in international surgical mission trips in Africa and Guatemala, sometimes for many months. In her later years, both before and after her diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease in 2004, she was central in the lives of her cherished granddaughters, Paige and Rylee.
These are the facts of Elaine’s life, but her friends and family will remember her for the characteristics and qualities she brought to her life and the lives of those around her. She enjoyed teaching and tutoring, cooking, creating macrame designs, reading, and playing games of any kind. She loved to play bridge, travel with friends, keeping lists, and anything with numbers. She enjoyed baking pies almost as much as she enjoyed eating them. Her extended family, including her sisters and brother. her nieces and nephews, were deeply important, and she loved family gatherings and vacations with them in North Carolina. She also nurtured her many friendships. She never arrived at a dinner or party without a gift in hand, and she was the first to send a thank-you note. She was a non-judgmental, empathic person, quick to help and befriend others, with a sense of humor and an endearing and genuine humility that infused all her interactions. The effect of these qualities on those who knew her will endure.
Private graveside services will be held in the Grantham Memorial Park, Grantham, PA. A public Celebration of Life will be announced for a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Messiah Village Endowment Fund, 100 Mt. Allen Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055.
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