In memoriam


MaryEllen Easterling Pitard

MaryEllen Easterling Pitard passed away on Dec. 25, 2023. She served the College of William & Mary as the director of Catholic Campus Ministry for more than 15 years and is remembered for a life filled with faith, led with a servant’s heart.

MaryEllen was born April 17, 1947, in San Diego, California, to James Cawthon and Adelia Rose (Jungers) Easterling, and was the youngest of three children. Her mother is credited with modeling strong religious beliefs for her family.

MaryEllen graduated from the University of San Diego in 1969. A year later, she was married and raised three children – Susan, Katie, and Daniel – with her former husband, Peter.

She earned a master’s degree from San Diego State University in counseling with an emphasis in marriage, family and child counseling. MaryEllen would use that degree for the rest of her life in lay ministry.

She began that work as a youth minister at St. John of the Cross in Lemon Grove, California. She then served for ten years as the campus minister at the University of San Diego. One of the projects she held most dear during that time was coordinating for college students to build houses in Tijuana through Esperanza International.

In 1996, the Pitard family moved to Williamsburg, Virginia. The following year, MaryEllen joined the College of William & Mary as the director of Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM), where she would serve until 2015. She mentored incoming lay and religious campus ministers, counseled students and served the CCM community in many other ways.

After retiring from W&M CCM, MaryEllen became the pastoral associate for the Hope Pregnancy Center at St. Bede, Williamsburg, from 2015 through June 2021.

MaryEllen is survived by her children, Susan, Katie, and Daniel; grandchildren, Adelia, Catherine, Callie, Daphne, and Fletcher; brother, James (Peggy); sister-in-law, Candy; many nephews, nieces, great-nephews and -nieces, cousins, and many other friends she considered family.

Funeral services are planned at St. Olaf, Williamsburg, on Jan. 12. Services and burial are planned in April in San Diego.



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