A large white house on Lakewood Avenue on the east side of Detroit, in St. Ambrose Parish, was home to Robert and Mary Jo (Pease) Plummer and their family of seven boisterous children including Mary Ellen, the second oldest. Eighteen years separated the oldest, Bill, and the youngest, Liz. In between, in addition to Mary Ellen, came Cathy, John, Margaret, and Virginia.
Robert and Mary Jo were both Montana natives (Missoula and Butte, respectively) who met as students at the University of Montana. The pair married and moved to Boston, where Robert, who had entered officers’ training with the U.S. Navy, studied sonar technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eventually, he was in the submarine service in the Pacific during World War II.
After the war, the couple moved to the Detroit area, where Robert went to work for the U.S. Rubber Company, now Uniroyal. When Sister Mary Ellen was born on September 14, 1946, the family lived in a small house in what is now Harper Woods, but when she was four years old they moved to the home on Lakewood.
“It was there that we roller-skated for hours (our driveway was the best in the neighborhood!), played house, raked leaves, grew gardens, made snow people (and had great snowball fights!), and bumbled our way through school and adolescence toward adulthood,” Sister Mary Ellen wrote in her life story.
Read more about Sister Mary Ellen (pdf)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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My dear friend, Mary Ellen, our time at Aquinas was memorable. I will always remember our conversations, projects, liturgies and the time living in the convent with the two School Sisters of Notre Dame! Thank you
Sister Mary Ellen was an amazing woman. I was a teen in Orlando and I remember how funny she was. My favorite memory was hearing her preach. I told my mom I have always remembered how when she spoke, you could feel Christ flow through her words into our hearts, never boring and always inspiring. A gifted woman of God who blessed all who had the opportunity to know her. I have always been grateful for the years she had in Orlando. Thank you Sister Mary Ellen! Rest in Peace.
Thank you to the Adrian Sisters for the live stream. We are truly grateful to have walked the path of life here in Orlando with Sr Mary Ellen. Her wit and many gifts enriched our lives. Her friendship through the years has been a blessing to us and our children. Rest In Peace enjoy your new heavenly body.❤️🙏🏼 Veronica & Frank Dailey & Family
I am a priest today because of the love and tremendous support that Sr. Mary Ellen gave me 35 years ago. She was a friend and an inspiration. I am literally eternally grateful that she is part of the fabric of my life. I will always cherish her love and support. I know she is watching over me even now!
I was fortunate to meet periodically with my cousin, Mary Ellen, throughout her career with the Dominicans. On my bucket list was to visit the "mother house" and hear her preach, which she did regularly after coming back to live in Adrian. But I will still be an attentive pew-sitter, listening for M. E.'s words of wisdom and inspiration from her new ambo.My heart goes out to my cousins, some of whom will be gathering in Adrian this week to escort Mary Ellen to her next post.Frank Pease, Bellevue, WA
Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God—and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance.
We will post memorial reflections on our faithfully departed Sisters and Associates. If you would like to reflect on a Sister or Associate who has gone before us, please send your reflections – no more than 500 to 600 words – to
We invite you to meet some of the wonderful women who have recently crossed into eternity.