In Memoriam: Myrtle Council

We’re saddened to report the passing of Myrtle Council, an avid and knowledgeable local historian who was an honored guest at the grand opening of The John Updike Childhood Home in October 2021. She was 99.

Myrtle was a 1941 graduate of Shillington High School, and after serving in the Navy WAVES during WWII she worked at the Reading Eagle-Times, Jacobs Aircraft Engineering Co., and Edelman’s Law Office in Reading.

But Berks County knew her mostly from her extensive volunteerism and advocacy for the preservation of local history. The list of organizations she served is almost as long as her rich life. She was a member of the National Parliamentarians Association, the American Institute of Parliamentarians, Berks Unit of PAP, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, the PA Federation of Women’s Clubs, Southeastern District of PFWC, Berks County Federation of Women’s Clubs, Women’s Club of Shillington, Federation of Past Presidents Club, and the Shillington/Mifflin Alumni Association, frequently serving as president or a board member of those organizations. She was also a lifetime member of the Immanuel UCC, Shillington, where she was a youth group leader, Altar Guild Chairman, founder/leader of the Shawl Ministry for 10 years, and a kitchen helper.

Her intersecting interests of Shillington High School, John Updike, and local history and its preservation led her to take an active role in passing on archival materials that the Shillington/Mifflin Alumni Association had acquired to the John Updike Childhood Home, where some items could be displayed and others catalogued and safely protected for the future. Items currently at the house museum—including Shillington H.S. pennants, pins, hats, athletic letters, and a student handbook—are on display because of Myrtle’s vision and dedication to preserving local history for future generations to understand and appreciate.

Inurnment, with full military honors, will take place in Fairview Cemetery, 375 New Holland Ave., Shillington, at 10 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2023. A celebration of life service will follow at 11 a.m. at Immanuel United Church of Christ, 99 S. Waverly St., Shillington. The family will receive friends immediately following services in the church fellowship hall.

Contributions in memory of Myrtle Council can be made to Immanuel UCC at the above address. Here is a link to the obituary where memories can be shared.

The society sends its deepest sympathies to Myrtle’s daughter, Elizabeth, and to the rest of the family. Myrtle will be missed, but her work lives on.

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