In the early morning of Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, Mary Ellen Culley Shope Lifter, 90, passed peacefully at her home. Her valiant fight with her illness came to an end with quiet peace. She was born on Jan. 7, 1926, in Brockway, Pa., to Hallie Roberts Culley and Harry B. Culley. She grew up in DuBois, Pa., graduating from DuBois High School. She completed her freshman and sophomore years at Syracuse University before leaving to join her fiancé, Robert Lowell Shope, in Amarillo, Texas, where they married and lived while her husband served in the Army Air Force during World War ll. After the war they relocated to western Pa., living in DuBois, Johnstown and Indiana, and later moving to Camp Hill, Pa., and New Cumberland, Pa., where she raised her five children and completed her college education at Shippensburg University with a degree in English. Mary Ellen retired in 1992 after spending 30 years in various positions in the life insurance industry working in Harrisburg, Pa. and in Philadelphia, Pa. She was the first female CLU (Charter Life Underwriter) for the State of Pennsylvania. She also had her pilot's license and buzzed her family and neighbors while flying the skies of DuBois at the age of 16! After retirement she along with her husband, A. Moore Lifter, moved to Washington, D.C. Years later she moved to Shallotte, N.C., then in October 2014, she moved to 'The Conservatory Senior Living Community' located in Keller, Texas. Mimi, as all (but her children) referred to her as, had a voracious appetite in the reading of many styles of literature. She also enjoyed all newspapers, especially the N.Y. Times Sunday paper. She was always the "Life of the Party" and a gracious hostess…never there was a dull moment when Mimi was in the room! She loved her daily exercise classes and her solitary times in the pool swimming laps. In her earlier years, she enjoyed playing golf and was considered to be a champion Bridge player. She was a Welcome Wagon Hostess welcoming the Governor of Pa. and his wife in to their new home at the State Capitol. Mary Ellen is survived by her two daughters and one stepdaughter: Pamela (Charles) Shope Carpenter of Slidell, La., Stephanie Shope Disson (Scott Rigby) of Holden Beach, N.C. and Jean (Sheldon) Lifter Gelman of Philadelphia, Pa.; her three sons and one stepson: R. Jeffrey (Marie) Shope of Keller, Texas, Gregory K. Shope of McLean, Va., Bradley D. Shope of Shallotte, N.C. and John (Karen) Lifter of Wellesley, Mass.; Eight grandchildren: Robert (who preceded her in death), Heather (Jeffrey) Lambert-Shemo, Adam (Regina) Lambert, Nicole, Scott (Michelle) and Eric Disson, Ellie (Joey) Rios-Shope, Alissah Shope; Four step grandchildren: Abby Lifter Hochberg (Eric), Rachel Lifter, Hannah Lifter Gelman (Yu Gan), Jake Gelman; six great-grandchildren and two step great-grandchildren. Mary Ellen's three siblings who survive her are David Culley of Panama City Beach, Fla., Gregory Culley (Donna) of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., Kent Culley (Merle) of Bradford Woods, Pa., and many beloved nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her two husbands, A. Moore Lifter, Robert Lowell Shope; her grandson, Robert Shope; and her sister, Doris Snow. Cremation arrangements were handled by Acremation. A memorial service will be held on Oct. 24, at 11 a.m., at the First United Presbyterian Church of DuBois, Pa., followed by her burial at the Morningside Cemetery in DuBois.
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