Elsie Lister Orb

 5/22/1939 - 4/6/2022 Ann Arbor, MI  Elsie Phillips Lister Orb, beloved mother, grandmother, and friend, died Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

She was 82 years old. A lifelong educator, who loved to teach and learn with others, Elsie grew up in upstate New York, and attended Rochester University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Non-Western Civilization, and Yale University where she received a Master of Arts in East Asian Studies and received all-but-dissertation in a PhD program in Chinese History. She enjoyed a teaching career at Hobart and William Smith College and Keuka College. In 1972, she moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she spent the remainder of her career in higher education as an administrator for the Center for Japanese Studies, the Business and Industrial Assistance Division, and the Business School. She retired in 2004.

During her second career, Elsie continued to make contributions to organizations that she fiercely supported - causes dear to her heart and soul. She supported curriculum planning and attended many classes at Elderwise, a nonprofit, independent, lifelong learning organization dedicated to offering continuing education to learners of all ages. She volunteered for the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library, where she was in charge of the history section for donated books.

She also spent many hours volunteering for the Huron River Watershed Council. Her volunteer time was aligned with her passions for reading, education, and the environment. These organizations are where she developed many treasured friendships.

When Elsie worked, whether pre- or post-retirement, she worked. Her work ethic and commitment were limitless and uncompromising. Beyond volunteering, Elsie had a passion for baseball and the Detroit Tigers (and Chicago Cubs), British series programming, birdwatching, and knitting. We often joked that giving her access to Netflix would be the end of everything else, yet true to form, she folded that in and added it to the list. She maintained an insatiable appetite for learning and even "mindless entertainment content." She often commented on Longmire as one of her favorite distractions.

 Most important was her commitment to and love of her family. She was the rock to her two kids, Alan Orb and Alena (Orb) Stocking. She was fortunate to gain two additional children as her kids married, welcoming Ray Stocking and Katarina Pantelic-Orb into her fold. Then came grandchildren, Shannon, Christopher, Aleksandra, and Austin, where her passion for education benefited those closest to her. Time with G'ma included games such as Bananagrams, book reading, and back-to-school shopping. She was quick to direct word questions to the physical dictionary (not your phone!), and was honest and open with feedback and unwavering support (and some firm but gentle discipline).

Elsie passed quickly after a diagnosis of leukemia, in the arms of her loving family. She left us peacefully and pain free, which was a blessing. In place of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the organizations she supported most closely: Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library, Elderwise, the Huron River Watershed Council, or your charity of choice. Plans will be made later this spring for a gathering so that friends and family may come together outside, in a park with birds in the background, to celebrate her life. To say she will be missed is an understatement, yet she left this world a better place and impacted. She was loved by so many, for which we are grateful. We were all blessed to have her in our lives.

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