Elaine C. Messersmith Behney, 80, of Lebanon, died on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at her home after a hard fought fight with ovarian cancer.
She was born on January 27, 1938 to the late Carson S. Cooper and the late Orpha E. Cooper in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. She is preceded in death by her husbands Paul R. Messersmith to whom she was married for 34 years and Thomas A. Behney. Elaine grew up in Lebanon and was a 1955 graduate of Lebanon High School. She continued on to higher education and received a bachelor's degree in Home Economics from Drexel University in 1959. She taught Home Economics and Family and Consumer Science in the Cornwall-Lebanon School District for 47 years in both the high school and middle school. Elaine loved theater arts which she shared and taught to hundreds of students. In the 1970's, she was the advisor of the Theater Arts Club and in the early 1980's she became the fall play director at Cedar Crest High School. In 1986, she also began directing the spring musical. She directed at Cedar Crest High School until the spring of 1996. While at the middle school, she was asked to be the fall play and spring musical director. There she and her daughter, Kate, directed shows together. They just completed their 18th year of directing. She was also very involved in local professional and community theater. She was a costumer and dresser at the Gretna Playhouse and she was an actor and director at Lebanon Community Theater. Her most noted role was in 1977 where she and her husband, Paul, played Tevye and Golde in Fiddler on
the Roof. They are still remembered by many today for singing the duets "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Do You Love Me". Outside of theater, Elaine enjoyed travelling, playing scrabble with her friends, and participating in both the vocal and bell choirs at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church where she was an elder and active member. Elaine was a loving mother and nana.
She is survived by daughters Lori E Messersmith Falk, wife of Jeffrey K. Falk, and Kate L Messersmith Tshudy, wife of David J. Tshudy, and grandchildren Paul C. Brandt, Regan C. Brandt, Luke D. Tshudy, Ian P. Tshudy, Fiona E. Tshudy, and Faustina J. Falk.
Services will be held on Thursday, August 9, 2018 at 11 a.m. at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 600 S. 12th St, Lebanon, PA 17042.
A Visitation will precede the service at 10 a.m. and a luncheon will follow the service. Interment will be at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery at the family's convenience.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, PO Box 32141, New York, NY 10087-2141, www.ocrfa.org.
For more information, to order flowers, or to send messages of condolence, please visit www.christmansfuneralhome.com
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance
PO Box 32141, New York NY 10087