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Home » Campus News Latest » Obituaries » Elsa Orley Ponce ’58

Our friend Elsa Ponce died unexpectedly on Saturday, July 11, 2020, from bleeding complications after cardiac surgery.

She was a longtime resident of Columbia, MD, and lived independently at Vantage Point for her last four years.

Elsa Orley was an only child, born on July 8,1935, and raised near Cleveland, OH. She was predeceased by her parents, Carl and Helene Orley.

She was married briefly to Charles H. Ponce and divorced. Elsa earned a B.A. in social science from Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH, in 1958; and she completed a master’s degree and all course work for a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.

She worked for the Social Security Administration at Woodlawn until she retired. During her time there, she employed her advanced studies in writing monographs and interpreting trends in her position in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics.

Elsa enjoyed a full life with many accomplishments, including becoming a yoga instructor and teaching classes for Social Security employees. She enjoyed reading and participated in book clubs, poetry and short-story discussion groups.

For many years she attended art appreciation classes and visited museums in Washington, DC, with Howard Community College. A late-life highlight for Elsa came in 2018, when she traveled to China and won both individual and team gold medals for Tai Chi.

Elsa loved animals; her blind toy poodle Pelli and cat Django gave her much joy; both have been adopted into new homes. A large group of friends and family participated in a Zoom memorial honoring her life on July 21, 2020. Those remembering her described her as brilliant, disciplined, principled, and loyal.

At Elsa’s request, her remains have been laid to rest beside her longtime friend Beverly Fearn Porter in Somerville, NJ.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.