In Memory of Eleanora Otto Halfman

In Memory of Eleanora Otto Halfman

Ellie and Bob Halfman
Ellie Halfman and her late husband Bob at University Lutheran in 2004. Photo by Chris Pollari.

We are grateful for the life of Eleanora Otto Halfman, who died on Thursday, July 30, 2015 at the age of 90. The only remaining charter member of University Lutheran Church, Ellie was a faithful part of our community for 86 years.

Ellie’s parents, Victor and Ethel Otto, were among the 28 people who signed the papers to incorporate officially as University Lutheran Association of Greater Boston in 1928, and Ellie was one of our first Sunday School students. Ellie went on to attend Radcliffe College, earning an A.B. in 1947. In 1945, she was elected to the Church Council, part of a long history of service to the church.

In 1948, Ellie married Robert Halfman, and they had four children, Peter, Peg, Sue, and John. They lived in Lexington, with two sojourns in India during the 1960s, when Bob (then a professor at MIT) helped establish a branch of the Indian Institute of Technology in the city of Kanpur.

The Halfmans were famous for their hospitality. Their family’s vacation home on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire was the site of summer picnics and Columbus Day hiking trips for many generations of UniLu-ers. Ellie was also a vigorous advocate for homeless men and women, regularly recruiting volunteers for the Harvard Square Meals Program and supporting the student-run Harvard Square Homeless Shelter located in the church basement.

We hold Peter, Sue, and John in our prayers, even as we give thanks for Ellie’s long and vibrant life.

Visit the UniLu Remembers blog to share your memories and reflections. For technical help, see Using the UniLu Remembers Blog. Or, send your comments to our webmaster, Susan Worst, at for posting.

Contributions to University Lutheran in Ellie’s memory may be sent to the church office or made online. Checks should be made out to “University Lutheran Church” with “Ellie Halfman memorial” in the memo line. To give online, go to UniLu’s secure giving page and enter the amount in the line labeled “Other Gift, specify.” In the text box next to the amount, enter “Ellie Halfman memorial.”

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