Riderwood reunites old friends

By Almeda Girod
Resident Writer

Mary Ann and Bill Stroker were in the process of moving to Orchard Point from Madison, NJ, when a friend suggested that they contact Elaine and Bob Tiller, who had recently moved to Hunter Glen. Mary Ann responded, “Could this be the Elaine and Bob that we knew at Yale Divinity School?”

Elaine had first met Bill when she arrived as a freshman at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, and noticed that
Resident and staff volunteers during the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts
Bill, a senior, was a “big man on campus.”

Elaine and Bob met in 1963 through a mutual friend when they were all students at Yale Divinity School. The friend was convinced that they would be a “perfect match.” They are now celebrating 53 years of marriage and so it appears that she was right. The couple came from very different backgrounds with Bob growing up in D.C. area and Elaine in a small farm community in southern Ohio.

Likewise, Bill and Mary Ann had varying backgrounds with Bill from Clintonville, KY (population 500) and Mary Ann from New Orleans. Bill, a doctoral student, first noticed Mary Ann in the dining hall. It may be considered a tribute to these two men to have been chosen as mates among a class of 90 percent men.

Bob’s first position after divinity school was as a pastor of a small inner city church in Manhattan. Elaine worked as a chaplain in Bellevue Hospital. Her life-long work was as a counselor and trainer/educator in grief, loss, aging, death, and dying primarily with hospices. The couple moved to the D.C. area for Bob to work in government relations and public policy advocacy for the American Baptist denomination. He later did similar work for church-related non-profits.

Mary Ann and Bill married in 1967 and moved to Madison where Bill joined the faculty of Drew University teaching history and literature of early Christianity. Mary Ann’s career involved administration of adult education programs.

“Those were formative years for all four of us,” Bill said. “To reconnect after 50 plus years brings back common interests, beliefs, and commitments.”

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(From left to right) Bob and Elaine Tiller, Mary Ann and Bill Stroker                Photo by Lew Priven
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