Edna M. Massimilla (wife of deceased elder Rev. Dr. John A. Massimilla, Peninsula-Delaware Conference)
On Saturday, January 2, 2021, Edna M. Massimilla went peacefully to be with God. Edna was 104 years old, and would have been 105 in March.
Edna was born in New York City in 1916 and married John Massimilla in 1941. Together they had five daughters: Mary, Joan, Ruthie (deceased), Kathy and Alice.
Edna worked with John as a secretary in his NY law office. John was also a Real Estate Broker and Edna was a Real Estate Sales Person. When John received the call to the ministry Edna worked beside him as his secretary.
Together they served the following churches:
Lahaska and Penns Park (Pa)
In Delaware they served:
Laurel (Kings, St. Georges, Mt. Pleasant)
Felton (Felton, Viola, Manship)
Magnolia (Magnolia, Little Creek, Lebanon, Leipsic)
Hospital for the Mentally Retarded in Georgetown Delaware. John was the chaplain, and Edna provided the music for Sunday Services.
Edna was an internationally known poet, author and musician (a member of ASCAP). Up until a week before her death she was still writing poetry, and was working on a book of devotions for dog lovers, and had a dog herself (Martha). Edna’s third daughter Ruthie was born (1952) with Down’s Syndrome. When advised to put Ruthie in an institution Edna and John raised and cared for Ruthie until her death in 1995.
Edna and John became Advocates for those with disabilities. Books, brochures and articles were written and published. Edna was in contact with the late president John F. Kennedy about legislation for those in need. Edna received a letter from JFK (the last letter he sent) about the work they were doing. Edna and John began a school for those with mental retardation and served on a Board for a sheltered workshop, as well as leading worship at the Hospital for the Mentally Retarded in Georgetown, Del.
Edna published a poem (Heaven’s Very Special Child) that is in many languages and continues to touch and inspire those who have children with special needs.
Since residing in retirement centers for over 21 years (since John died) Edna initiated spiritual life committees, produced hymn books and played the piano for weekly and special services into her 100’s. Edna’s greatest joy was knowing her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Besides her 4 daughters, Edna is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and two great grandchildren to be born in May and June. Her children, grand and great grandchildren were her great joy. After living in New York City, Maryland and Pennsylvania Edna and John found great joy in servicing churches in Delaware.
The family has approved the release of this information.
As we receive further updates, they will be available on the Prayer Request page.