Littles Funeral Homes Services Located in Littlestown, PA Near Gettysburg, York and Westminster
Mrs. Ruth Wareheim Elder

Mrs. Ruth Wareheim Elder

May 20th, 2012

Biography: Mrs. Ruth Wareheim Elder died on Sunday, May 20, 2012, at Homewood at plum Creek, Hanover. Born on March 19, 1918, in Littlestown, she was the daughter of Maurice C. and Helen (Byers) Wareheim of Littlestown. She was the widow of Col. Edwin W. Elder, Jr., who predeceased her on March 3, 1989. Surviving are two children, Edwin W. Elder, III, and wife, Barbara of Loudon, Tenn., and Dr. Jacqueline Elder Murren and husband, Douglas of Littlestown. She is also survived by two grandchildren and their families, Donald Edwin Elder, Esq., and wife, Rosanna and children, Emily and Andrew of Chicago, and Dr. Gregg A. Elder and wife, Karen and children Kaitlin and Athena of Phoenix, Ariz. She was preceded in death by a brother, Robert Byers Wareheim.

Mrs. Elder graduated as class valedictorian from
Littlestown High School in 1935. She attended Western Maryland College (now McDaniel), where she majored in English, Music and minored in History. She graduated in 1940, certified to teach all three subjects. While in college, she met her husband, Ed, who was the quarterback of the football team, and they were married in 1941. Although she left teaching to have and raise her children after her marriage, she agreed to temporarily return during the Korean War when there was a shortage of teachers. At the time, she taught music in all of the schools in Adams County except those located in Gettysburg.

In 1954, Mrs. Elder and her family moved to
Europe due to her husband's Army assignment. She spent a year in Orleans, France and a year and a half in Munich, Germany. Her experience in Europe provided her with first-hand knowledge of historic sites and events which she later imparted to her World Cultures and European History students. The family returned to Littlestown in 1961, and Mrs. Elder returned to teaching at Littlestown High School. In addition to teaching World Cultures, she directed the chorus, served as Dean of Girls, chaired the Social Studies Department, and team-taught European History with the European Literature teacher.

Mrs. Elder wrote the first successful Federal technology grant application for
Littlestown High School, which resulted in 40 new VCR's and Televisions at a time when the use of these items for educational purposes was considered innovative. She was also active in the PA Music Educators' Association and Delta Kappa Gamma, the women's educator's organization in which she held her chapter's office of Secretary and International Relations Chair. In 1968, Mrs. Elder was one of fifty teachers across the Commonwealth selected to study the literature of the world's five great religions at Penn State, which she then instituted as a course at LHS. this course, Religious Literature, became so popular with students that she was asked to develop a senior elective, initially called Ethics, later becoming contemporary Issues. This course was extremely popular until her retirement from teaching and served as a model for similar courses in other high schools throughout the Commonwealth. During this period, she also earned her master's degree in Liberal Arts from Western Maryland College. In addition to her formal duties, Mrs. Elder preformed many voluntary services at Littlestown High School, including coordinating the VFW Annual Voice of Democracy Essay Contest, initiating and hostessing the National Honor society Tea for the inductees' parents, initiating Littlestown High School's participation in the National Social Studies Olympiad and helping to judge football and basketball cheerleader try-outs.

Mrs. Elder had a long history of service and philanthropy in the Littlestown community. She served two terms on the
St. Paul's Lutheran Church council, a church of which her grandfather, John R. Byers, was a founder. She also taught the Senior High Sunday School class and served on the Youth Ministry Committee at St. Paul's. She served as a troop leader for the Cub Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts as well as several terms on the Littlestown Alumni Association Board. Mrs. Elders donated the new sound system at Memorial Field in her husband's memory and anonymously paid for varsity jackets for Littlestown student-athletes, who couldn't afford them. She initiated and served as the first chair of the Bolt Booster Club Scholarship Circle Drive. In addition, Mrs. Elder personally sponsored equipment, uniforms and activities for the Littlestown Elementary Football Association, and served on the committee to purchase new lights for Memorial Field in Littlestown. In recognition of her service and philanthropy, she was given the Bolt Booster Club Distinguished Service Award as well as an appreciation plaque from the Littlestown Bolts Elementary Football team. Recently, the friends of the Littlestown Library chose to name a room in her honor at the new town facility to commemorate her many achievements and contributions to the Littlestown community.

Of Mrs. Elder's many accomplishments, perhaps the greatest were consistently giving her best while instilling this value in her students and striving, through her teaching and community service, to impart the ideal of tolerance of other people's beliefs, values and opinions.

Memorial contributions in Mrs. Elder's name may be made to the Promoting Future Educators Scholarship Fund, c/o Lincoln Intermediate Unit #12, P.O. Box 70, New Oxford, PA 17350; or the Alpha Fire Company Building Fund, 40 E. King St., Littlestown, PA 17340. There will be no viewing.

A private service will be held at the convenience of the family and conducted by Lutheran Vicar George B. Scott, one of Mrs. Elder's former students, per her wishes. Funeral arrangements are being made by the Little's Funeral Home.


Feb 26th, 2018 11:51 pm
With the Sincerest Sympathies to the family.
Reverend Sandra R Mackie, St Paul's Lutheran
May 31st, 2012 11:54 am
Ruth was a lovely person and will be missed by many in her community. It was my pleasure to visit with her and hear her stories. Our Vicar Betty Lou and our Lay Eucharistic Minister Larry both cared deeply for her. I hope it is a comfort to her family to know that so many people admired and cared for Ruth and that she enjoyed visits and receiving Holy Communion from her home congregation, where she had made so many contributions.

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