The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


December 3, 2013

Arselia S. Ensign

Arselia S. Ensign, 94, of St. Johns, Mich., formerly of Bannister, Mich., passed away Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, at Ashley Care Center in Ashley, Mich.

Funeral Services will begin at noon Thursday, Dec. 5, at Bannister United Methodist Church, Bannister, Mich. Visitation will take place 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4 at Smith Family Funeral Homes, Elsie Chapel. Burial will take place at Ford Cemetery in Gratiot County, Mich.

Dr. Arselia Sehler Ensign was born as Arselia Marie Block in Indianola, Ill., on June 10, 1919, to Edgar William and Marie Anna (Schweiger) Block.

Upon receiving her BA from U. Illinois in 1941, she began teaching English at the Indianola Community High School. An interest in special education led her to complete a master’s at U. Michigan in 1946.

Arselia went on to develop special ed programs for high school students in Lansing and Grand Rapids, Mich.

While in Grand Rapids, she met and married John Phillip Sehler on June 23, 1956. After his death in Aug. 31, 1962, she decided to focus on further studies. She earned a Ph.D. from Michigan State U. in 1969.

In 1968 she joined the Michigan Department of Education as consultant for programs for the physically and visually handicapped. Arselia was instrumental in founding in 1973 the Physically Impaired Association of Michigan (PIAM), followed by two technology centers located in Lansing and St. Johns, Mich. She worked 50 years as a teacher and administrator.

She met Albert “Corky” Ensign on a flight. They married on Aug. 26, 1973. She moved to his farm in Bannister, Mich. She developed skills in writing poetry and in oil painting. Other abiding interests include the Bannister United Methodist Church, where her funeral will be held, her pets and the cause of animal welfare. Corky died in 2006.

Arselia is survived by her stepchildren, Larry and Orean Ensign of Holt, Mo., David Ensign of Flagstaff, Ariz., Linda Tribley of Bannister, Mich,, Elizabeth Elliott of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Cathy and Duane Hampton of Portage, Mich., 15 step-grandchildren; 15 step-great-grandchildren; six special nieces; and two special nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Bannister United Methodist Church. Online condolences may be made at The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes, 221 E. Main Street, Elsie MI 48831.

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