Cover photo for Elinor Karns Muller's Obituary
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1930 Elinor 2021

Elinor Karns Muller

June 20, 1930 — September 30, 2021

Elinor Karns Muller, 91, passed on peacefully into the next life on September 30, 2021. There she joins her husband of 51 years, Edward, her parents, and a host of loving friends and relatives. Born on June 20, 1930 in Pittsburgh, PA, her life was a full one as a wife, mother, grandmother, sailor, seamstress, camper, carpenter, and nurse. In her youth, Elinor and her sister, alongside their father, built a Lightning sailboat in the basement of their home in Swarthmore, which they then sailed competitively. That proved to be just the first of many accomplishments that would have seemed impossible to many.

After graduating from Swarthmore High School in 1948, Elinor attended Mount Holyoke College, class of ’52, followed by Hartford Hospital School of Nursing. As a registered nurse, she worked in the city of Philadelphia as a visiting nurse until she married and started a family. Her nursing career later included many years working at Elwyn Institute outside of Philadelphia.

Elinor always welcomed a challenge. She instilled in her 3 daughters, Susan Smith (Craig), Lisa Muller (Paul Pawlaczyk), and Sandra Armstrong (Scott), a love of using their hands to build and create. She and Ed built not only an early pop-up camper, using plans from Popular Mechanics, but also a full-sized wooden motorboat, which the family used along the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay areas for many years.

Never one to pay someone to do something she could do herself, Elinor loved to fix broken things and solve problems; rewiring broken lamps, changing her own oil, and once helping haul a dresser up through a second story window in Sandie’s old farmhouse. She was generous with her time and abilities; helping neighbors, friends, and her church families at Cedarville United Methodist Church in Pottstown and later at St. Paul Lutheran in New Cumberland. Her grandchildren were always sure to find a full cookie tin in her kitchen when they came to stay!

In addition to her 3 children, Elinor is survived by her grandchildren Evan Smith (Ellie), Mackenzie Smith, Laura Smith (Odia Ayewoh), Jay Preston (Allison), Helen Armstrong (Kayla Weier), and Nathaniel Armstrong; and great-grandchildren Theo, Sylvia, and Phoebe Smith.

Elinor will be remembered for her warm smile, her devotion to her family, her amazing apple pie, and her generous spirit. A service in her memory will be held at 1PM on November 20 at Cedarville United Methodist Church, Pottstown.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her memory to the Alzheimer’s Association ( or Planned Parenthood (

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, November 20, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Cedarville United Methodist Church

1092 Laurelwood Road, Pottstown, PA 19465

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