Ellen Jane Lorenz Porter led a wonderfully productive and varied life filled with creativity, self-improvement, and commitment to her passions. From age eight, when she began piano lessons, through the fall of 1996, where she was a vibrant member of a religion class, self-improvement was a constant goal. From age 13, the date of her first published composition, through November 1996, when she composed two pieces premiered at her memorial service, creativity was a constant companion. From her own introduction to handbells in 1955 through the revision of her "first significant bell composition" (her words), "Bell Jubilee," first published in 1969, handbells was one of her passions.
She he had many passions - poetry, essays, plays, education, and religion, to name just a few - but handbells remained one of her favorites. In fact, she was instrumental to the growing popularity of the idiom, being one of the early champions and creators for handbell music throughout the world.
Ellen Jane joined the Lorenz Publishing Company in 1932 as Editor-in-Chief and was made a partner (third generation) in 1940. After her "retirement" in 1964, she pursued a Master in Music degree from Wittenberg University. Then, at the age of 71, she earned her Ph.D. in Sacred Music from Union Graduate School and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music from the University of Dayton.
She also became an acknowledged world authority on handbells and hymnology, was active in numerous music and literary societies, and had literally thousands of published compositions to her credit.
After a brief illness, she died on December 31, 1996. Those who were privileged to know her will miss her companionship very much. Those who knew her through her creativity or were touched by her passions will surely note the void. But all can celebrate her life as she celebrated living each day to the fullest.