ST. MICHAELS — Ethel Louise Towers North passed away at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore on Monday, Jan. 7, surrounded by her immediate family.
She was born in Talbot County on Sept. 6, 1931, the youngest of four children, two girls and two boys, from the union of George Washington Towers and Ethel Hannah Cooper. Both of her parents died when she was a very young child. She and her sister, Ann, were raised for some years by their grandmother, Virginia Cooper, in Ridgely, Md.
In the 1940s, the two sisters were informally adopted by the William Shannahan family, where they helped Jane Shannahan Hill Offutt care for her young son, Thomas Hill, whose father had been lost in World War II. They also assisted May Shannahan Cecil with the rearing of her two young children, Arthur and Kitty.
Ethel met her husbandto-be, John C. North II, at a skating party on Peachblossom Creek, and the couple courted for several years, corresponding regularly and visiting each other often while he was in college. After graduating high school, Ethel worked in the bookkeeping department at the Shannahan and Wrightson Hardware Company in Easton for several years, and then received specialized training and became a monotypist at Waverly Press (later Cadmus Communications) in Easton.
John and Ethel were married in 1954 in Easton and drove to Sea Island, Ga., for their honeymoon in the 1933 Duesenberg roadster that John had received from his parents upon graduating from Harvard Law School.
The young couple took up residence in Norfolk, Va., for two years while John served in the U.S. Coast Guard. They then returned to
1956, where John began the practice of law with his father under the firm name of North and North. The couple welcomed the birth of their sons, David in 1957 and Dan in 1960.
Ethel had a love and unique talent for flower arranging. She trained and became a master judge of flower exhibitions, ser ving ultimately as a judge at the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show. She was very active in the Talbot County Garden Club and served as its president in 1979-81.
Athletic as a girl, Ethel was a strong competitor in everything she attempted. She was a runner, horseback rider, swimmer, skater and sailor. She particularly enjoyed the sport of curling in her later years. More often than not, she was a member of the most successful team on the ice.
Ethel will always be greatly admired by the sailors in the historic Chesapeake Bay log canoe fleet for her warm and generous hospitality and especially for the thousands of delicious lunches she provided in her more than 40 years of supporting the sport. For many years, she sailed with John as crew on his log canoe,
Island Bird. In 2015, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum presented the “Heritage Award” jointly to Ethel and John “in recognition of their significant contributions to the cultural and maritime heritage of the Chesapeake Bay.”
She and John also loved fine vintage automobiles and were instrumental in establishing the St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance.
Ethel was preceded in death by her sister, Ann Towers Mason, and Ann’s husband, Randolph M. Mason, and her two brothers, William and George. She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Judge John C. North II; and by her two sons, David J. North and Daniel C. North; David’s wife, Joan Hoge-North, and former wife, Sallie E. North, and their two sons, Drew H. North and J. Dylan North; and Dan’s partner, Margaret Enloe, and former wife, Carrington North, and their two children, Campbell C.S. North and William-Spencer S. North.
Ethel is also survived by her niece, Susan M. Sanders, her husband Charles Sanders, and their children, Mason, Stuart and Mark; her nephew, Marshall Mason, his wife Susan, and their children, Rebekah, Jimmy, Timothy and Elizabeth; her nephew, William E. Towers Jr., his wife Jane, and their two sons, William E. Towers III and M. Alexander Towers.
An ardent Christian Scientist all her life, she was devoutly attached to the First Church of Christ Scientist in Easton and was the firmest believer in all the principles embodied in that faith.
At her request, services will be private. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to: First Church of Christ Scientist, 501 S. Washington St., Easton, MD 21601, or Talbot County Garden Club, P.O. Box 1524 Easton, MD 21601.
For online condolences, please visit www.fhnfuneral home.com.