Mary Louise Ponsell, 84, died April 7, 2019, in Wilmington, Delaware, her native city. She was the daughter of the late Francis I. and Mazie Campbell Ponsell. Her family owned Ponsells Drug Stores, where she worked part time in high school.
A graduate of P.S. DuPont High School, Mary Lou earned an A.B. degree in journalism and American studies from Syracuse University and an M.S. in library science from Drexel University. She began her communications career with summer job experience at the Journal Every Evening and the Wilmington Suburban News. When New York City beckoned the young journalist, she found herself working there in advertising with Ketchum, MacLeod & Grove, Inc. Within 18 months she was assistant editor of two radio advertising trade publications and managing editor of SPONSOR, a weekly trade journal of television and radio advertising. Returning to Wilmington, she worked in a variety of local communications, including as a copy editor for the Wilmington Morning News and Evening Journal, and as continuity editor for WDEL radio station. She joined the staff of bi-monthly start up Delaware Today and became the magazines editor and co-publisher until its sale to John W. Rollins Associates. Mary Lou then embarked on a twenty-five year career as a college librarian. As director of the library at Wilmington College, now Wilmington University, she oversaw a major increase in collections and helped plan a new library on the colleges New Castle campus. An avid collector of Delawareana, she served as an associate editor with Katherine Ward of Delaware Women Remembered, published in 1977 by The Modern Press, Inc.
A member of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Mary Lou loved to learn, interpret and share ideas. She researched and co-authored a book on the Ponsell familys European roots with her brother, David F. Ponsell. She collected updated profiles and edited a book for her P.S. DuPont High Schools 60th class reunion. Her Delawareana collection was donated to select libraries and archives. A longtime member of Delaware Press Association, she was honored as Communicator of Achievement in 1999 for her career accomplishments. She was also a member of American Pen Women Diamond State branch.
She is survived by sisters-in-law Portia B. and Joyce G. Ponsell; nieces Karen P. Baxley and Sandra P. Trapp, nephews Scott, Michael and Mark Ponsell; three grand nieces, a grandnephew and caring friends. She was predeceased by brothers Richard C. and David F. Ponsell, friend Carol Hostetter and stepmother Irene Carmean Ponsell. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 10 AM at McCrery and Harra Funeral Home, 3924 Concord Pike Wilmington, 19803, with family visitation immediately after the service. Contributions may be made to the ACLU, www.aclu-de.org or Delaware Hospice, www.delawarehospice.org