Elsie Tollefson Carter


Elsie Tollefson Carter, age 86, of Franklin Methodist Community, Franklin, passed away on Saturday, March 19, 2016, after a lengthy illness.

Born in Brunswick, Maine, she frequently moved from South China, Maine, to Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and finally to Baltimore, Maryland, as her father, Harold Tollefson served as pastor of Friends Meetings in the aforementioned cities.

She graduated from Friends School in Baltimore and Earlham College in Richmond, later doing some graduate work at the Earlham School of Religion.

Following graduation, she worked briefly under Harry Level in Wayne County’s office of community management, and later worked at Richmond’s local Morrison-Reeves Library.

After the birth of her children, she decided that raising her family was top priority, and remained at home until the youngest child had entered school. Following that, she worked for Friends United Meeting at their home office in Richmond for the next 25 years.

After her retirement, she assisted her husband, Charles, in his insurance office until his retirement in 1995.

Elsie’s life, however, centered around her church, both when her father was pastor and later as an adult.

She started the “Study-Buddy” program at First Friends Meeting and Crestdale Elementary School and received several citations from the Richmond Community Schools for this effort. She also received citations from the Wayne County Literacy Coalition for her work as a tutor under this coalition.

At First Friends Meeting she served as chairman of the Religious Education Department, and later became a part-time youth worker for this Meeting. From that time on most of her energy was focused on the youth of the Meeting — encouraging them to get involved in the activities of the Meeting, setting up programs that would help the youth of the Meeting grow in their spiritual life.

She was instrumental in bringing the “Stephen Ministries” to First Friends Meeting. However, her greatest achievement was in guiding the Meeting, as its clerk, through the difficult times of relocating the Meeting to a new Meetinghouse being built on Chester Boulevard, following the destruction of the historic Meetinghouse at 16th and East Main streets in Richmond.

Through her life she has been the spiritual leader of the congregations of which she has been a member, both in Richmond, and later at Fairfield Friends Meeting in Camby. All who knew her, loved her dearly.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Gladys Tollefson; and her sisters, Margaret Inglis from Richmond and Miriam Stockton from Tucson, Arizona.

Surviving are her husband of nearly 65 years, Charles in Franklin; their children, David Glenn and his wife Mary Ellen, Nancy Louise Atkinson and her husband Mike, Jo Ellen Carter and her husband Michael Jones, Ruth Esther Turner and her husband Brent; and her brother Robert in Tipp City, Ohio; nine grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.

Calling will be conducted from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the family room at Franklin United Methodist Community in Franklin. A memorial service will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Fairfield Friends Meeting in Camby.

Memorial gifts can be made to the Franklin United Methodist Community in Franklin and Fairfield Friends Meeting in Camby.