Jane Harrigan Ensign, 91, died peacefully on July 31, 2019, in Chattanooga, surrounded by her loving family.
Born in Melrose, Ma., on Oct. 28, 1927, to the late Harold and Elizabeth Harrigan, Mrs. Ensign grew up near Boston, the place she proudly referred to as “the hub of the universe.”
A graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, Mrs. Ensign met her late husband, James Ensign, when they were working for the YWCA and YMCA in High Point, NC. The couple enjoyed a 58-year marriage before Mr. Ensign’s death in 2013.
Mrs. Ensign worked as a social worker in the Chattanooga public schools for 25 years, touching the lives of countless students at Normal Park, Rivermont, Northside, James A Henry, and other local schools. Following retirement, Mrs. Ensign was an energetic volunteer at the Children’s Discovery Museum, Contact of Chattanooga, Northside Neighborhood House and many other worthy causes.
For more than 50 years, Mrs. Ensign was an active, faithful member of Northside Presbyterian Church, where she served an elder, deacon, choir member, Sunday School teacher, Presbyterian Women United member, and a beloved fixture in the Northside community.
Until the age of 90, Mrs. Ensign, aka “the Melrose Flyer,” inspired many fans with her annual participation in the one-mile race at the Chattanooga Chase in Riverview. Her joyful spirit and good-natured determination, the same qualities with which she lived her life, made her the most popular finisher in the race and even garnered a feature story in Runner’s World.
Mrs. Ensign’s family and all who knew her will cherish her memory. Survivors include her sister Martha Cempe of Staunton, Va.; daughter, Beth Ensign of Atlanta; sons, the Rev. Dr. David (Cheryl Lederle-Ensign) of Arlington, Va., Tim (Barbara) of Chattanooga, and Peter (Erika) of Chattanooga; twelve loving grandchildren: Karalee, Dylan, Kelsey, Willamae, Martin, Kaycee, Tymolyn, Peter, Hannah, Ella, McKenna and Erin.
The family would like to thank Pam Wigham and the staff at Brookdale in Hixson for the compassionate care and love they gave to Mrs. Ensign.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 11 a.m. at Northside Presbyterian Church. The family will receive friends at the church following the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to Northside Neighborhood House or a charity of your choice.