The beloved mother and the wife of our Executive Director

Mary Ellen Bissell

Mary Ellen Bissell raised her nine children as a single mother while working seven days a week and returning to college to earn her education degree. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer during the time that her daughter-in-law, Lori White, was battling the same disease.

A lifelong educator, Mary Ellen was extremely proud of all her children. Together they shared this battle and the challenges of fighting this insidious disease. After a short 18 months of battling, Mary Ellen passed away in February of 2003.

Lori Ann White

Mary Ellen’s daughter in law, Lori Ann White was the beloved wife of the Rivkin Center’s Executive Director, Joe White, and mother to their son, Tyler Nicklaus White. As a nurse, she cared for children and adults alike, but clearly shined as a pediatric charge nurse.

Lori battled ovarian cancer for seven and a half years. She was a long-term patient of Dr. Saul Rivkin and truly admired him for his dedication to his patients and their families. Lori endured 22 surgeries and double-digit chemotherapy treatments during her battle. She never gave in to the pains of cancer and she lived her life as fully as possible with all of the challenges that came with the disease. Lori passed away in May of 2003, just three months after her mother-in-law.

She and Mary Ellen were the impetus behind establishing the LorLor & Mom Courage 4 Life Golf Tournament, which benefited the Marsha Rivkin Center in 2002. Over a six-year period, the event raised over $400,000 to help fight ovarian cancer. In 2008, Joe and his family joined forces with the Fisher family to create the Family & Friends Auction, invaluably growing the Rivkin Center’s cornerstone annual fundraising event to new heights.

Lori White & Mary Ellen Bissell