Maurice Paul Pelanne, 89

May 6, 1931 - December 14, 2020

A life well lived.
Maurice Pelanne passed away peacefully in his home in Lititz, Pennsylvania on December 14th, 2020. He was 89 years old. In learning of impeding death, Maurice’s only comment, “But there’s still so much to learn.” His quick, dry wit astounded: prior to the election, his doctor asked “Who’s running the country?” Without pause, Maurice replied “I don’t know? Do you?”
Maurice’s great nephew Kevin, a resident of Riegelsville, Pennsylvania, describes his uncle as the kindest, most gentle man he has ever known. His niece Michele, resident of Louisville, CO, remembers her uncle as a scholar of history and music and an artist in photography and the art of preparing a wonderful meal.
Born May 6, 1931 in New Brunswick, New Jersey into the family of Auguste, Marie and brother Charles, 8 years his senior, Maurice spoke of his mother’s gentle “coos” in French, “his mother tongue”. She died when he was just three. Under the stresses of a changing economy and a working man’s need for help with child rearing, the family moved back to their homeland of France.
As a youngster, Maurice lived with his Aunt Irma while his father pursued work. As Maurice grew, Auguste would not allow a war to deny his son an education and sent him to a series of boarding schools in southern France. Maurice’s fondest memories of that time were his father’s visits to school and working on their rented farm alongside his brother and father on the island of Ile de Rey. At the end of World War II, the family moved back to the US. An impressionable teenager, my uncle teared up remembering their arrival when his father kissed the ground thankful to bring his boys to the safety of the United States.
Maurice entered high school while living under the roof of a family who answered his father’s well written ad. He taught himself English, but retained a soft French accent his entire life. These same people introduced then bartender Charles to Johns-Manville Corporation where he developed a career in science. Maurice often speculated about these odd life-altering coincidences.
Completing high school, he went on to graduate from Rutgers University with a degree in Literature.
After serving with the army in Korea, and falling in love with the Asian culture, Maurice returned to Rutgers to work his entire career as a librarian, cataloging his beloved books. Speaking with great pride and joy, he remembered his work with passion. It is in that library that Maurice met the love of his life and lifelong companion, Norma Ickes who continues her life in Lititz, Pennsylvania. Instead of marriage, each day they chose to love one another with all their hearts.
Early retirement brought Maurice and Norma to Lancaster County Pennsylvania where he continued to pursue his passion of photography (pictures of many, few of himself), the family tradition of gardening, growing an extensive and bountiful garden that added “je ne says quoi” (a little something special) to his delectable meals. Wonderful to look at, better to eat. He tried his hand at watercolor painting. Always humble, he described himself “a hack”. His family begs to differ. Ever reading philosophy and European history, he enjoyed long discussions with Norma’s brothers on the effects of history on our present course. Start a conversation about the Romans or Middle Ages and he would take you on an astounding journey. His favorite book – Anna Karinina, his last read in November – Endeavors that explored historic responses of countries under times of stress.
Typically, a shy, intellectual man, at the end of his life Maurice surprised himself enjoying the company of many caregivers who came to his home. He described his revelation about the openness and kindness so easily exchanged as “a transforming experience”. His kind and gentle spirit showed through until the end with his last words, “thank you”.
Maurice respected the work of Doctors Without Borders. “They do such outstanding work for everyone in need.” In lieu of flowers, friend may make a donation to their endeavor.
The family will miss his gentle love, the world will miss his kindness.

Leave a condolence on this Memorial Page

Be sure to include your name

Please note that your condolence will not appear on this page until it is reviewed. Condolences usually appear within 24 hours of being submitted.

Condolences to the Family

August 11, 2023

I graduated with Maurice from Bound Brook High School in 1950.  We were part of a small group who thought of ourselves as the “intellectuals” of our class.  Three or four of us would periodically train into NYC where I chanced to meet his father, August, on at least one occasion as I recall.  I recall Maurice often spoke of riding his bicycle “up the mountain” to his brother’s place.  I thought of that ride as rather spectacular until in my own later years I took up recreational biking and realized how easy it is to cover significant mileage on a ride.  On one occasion after HS I found myself the driver for Maurice and a couple of his girl friends when we attended a J-M picnic, courtesy of Charles, and then returned to a home of one of the chemists who lived in the new development known as Spring Run.  Fate has a strange way of intruding into our lives — my wife and I have been living in Spring Run since 1969, across the street from that very house.  I’m am glad I thought to do a simple search for Maurice as I ruminate about a lifetime so long ago and the people I knew in it.  Saddened, of course, to learn of his passing but not surprised at my 90 years of age.  But also happy to know that he lived a full and happy life.  Happy to have known him during those exciting years of coming of age.
Al Beronio

Send Flowers Online

Offering Lancaster, PA funeral services for over 75 years.

Our six funeral homes in Lancaster County makes it easy and convenient to make arrangements and host services close to home.

  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Downtown Lancaster
  • 414 East King St.
  • 717-393-9661
  • Charles F. (Chip) Snyder, Jr. Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Lititz Pike
  • 3110 Lititz Pike
  • 717-560-5100
  • Charles F. (Chad) Snyder, III Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Millersville
  • 441 North George St.
  • 717-872-5041
  • Mark D. Burkholder Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Spacht-Snyder Family Funeral Home Lititz, PA
  • 127 South Broad St.
  • 717-626-2317
  • Jacqueline Adamson Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Bachman-Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory Strasburg, PA
  • 7 South Decatur Street
  • 717-687-7644
  • Norman T. Mable Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Willow Street, PA
  • 2421 Willow Street Pike
  • 717-464-4600
  • Kelly Gramola Townsend Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info