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Dr. Frances W. Ewbank Remembered at Taylor University

Published: Mar 18, 2013

Dr. Frances White Ewbank, Professor Emeritus of English at Taylor University, has died following a long illness.

Ewbank was born in Detroit, Mich., in 1916. She entered college during The Great Depression and worked her way through Wayne State University, where she received her BA and MA degrees in English. She taught in the Detroit Public Schools for six years before taking a position in Wheaton College’s (Wheaton, Ill.) English department in 1943. During her Wheaton tenure she met future missionary Jim Elliot. Elliot, along with four other missionaries, died in Ecuador at the hands of Waodani tribesmen. His story was later told in several books and most recently was the focus of a major motion picture End of the Spear. Ewbank left Wheaton to pursue her Ph.D. degree at the University of Colorado, where she received the university fellowship and research fellowship and was elected to Phi Alpha Theta and Pi Lambda Theta honorary societies.

Ewbank later taught at Asbury College In Wilmore, Ky., and Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pa. She is honored at Asbury through the Frances White Ewbank Excellence in Teaching Award, which is presented annually to a member of the Asbury College faculty.

She married WWII veteran Capt. William Ewbank of Yateley, Hampshire, England, in July 1964 and moved to Taylor University where she taught until her retirement in 1984. Ewbank published articles and reviews in professional publications and was a popular speaker at conferences in her field. She designed a course at Taylor based on the writings of C.S. Lewis, and the Frances White Ewbank Colloquium on C.S. Lewis and Friends, an annual event at Taylor, is named for her. She received the Distinguished Professor Award in 1977 and was an honorary member of Chi Alpha Omega.

Her memberships were in the Indiana College English Association of which she had been president, the Modern Language Association, the Indiana College Teachers of English, the Shakespeare Association, and the Conference on Christianity and Literature. She was also a member of the Upland United Methodist Church and was active in the United Methodist Women’s Association.

She is survived by her husband, Bill; two stepdaughters, Wendy (Jim) Tallent of Indianapolis and Heather (Harlan) Day of West Lafayette; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; her younger sister Nancy (Rex) McConnell of Nicholasville, Ky.; several in-laws, nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions can be made to Taylor University or to the Upland United Methodist Church Missions Fund.

Graveside services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 19, at the Jefferson Cemetery, Upland, Ind. A memorial service is scheduled for 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 20, Upland United Methodist Church, 123 E. Washington St., Upland, Ind.

Officiating: Rev. Rob Neel and Dr. Jay Kesler

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Psalm 116:15.