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Richard Clement Elling
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Obituary for Richard Clement Elling

Professor Richard Elling of Ferndale, Michigan died peacefully on December 9 surrounded by family and friends at the age 73. The son of Clement and Sophia Elling of Norwood, Minnesota, he was the eldest of three children. A professor emeritus of Wayne State University, Richard had a 35-year career in which he served as chair of the Political Science Department and was twice director of the Graduate Program of Public Administration. Prior to moving to Michigan, he taught at Wichita State University and the University of Kentucky. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, he was the author of Public Management in the States and one of several authors of The Political and Institutional Effects of Term Limits. He strongly felt that an effective civil service is vital to helping democratically-elected governments deliver services that benefit a broad cross section of citizenry and address social inequities. This informed his training of a generation of public administrators. Following his retirement, Richard established the Elling Fund for Public Administration Educational Enhancement.

An active member of the Ferndale community, Richard served on the Board of Education for Ferndale Public Schools and the City of Ferndale Civil Service Commission, and he supported numerous civic causes.

A longtime member of Drayton Avenue Presbyterian Church, Richard was an elder and choir member, and he volunteered his time to South Oakland Shelter and CROP Walk.

Richard is survived by his wife of 52 years, Sandra Elling; his sons Joshua and Benjamin Elling; daughters in law Carina Gronlund and Gwen Elling; his sisters Bonnie Panning and Danna Elling Schultz; and his three grandchildren, Nora, Max and Emmett.

A visitation will be held on December 15 , 4-8 p.m., Wessels & Wilk Funeral Home, 23690 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge, MI.

A funeral will be held December 16, 2 p.m., Drayton Avenue Presbyterian Church at Cana Lutheran Church, 2119 Catalpa Dr., Berkley, MI.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to:

The Elling Fund for Public Administration Educational Enhancement

Contribute to the Elling Fund by mailing a check to: Fund Office, Wayne State University, 5475 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202

Donations can be made online at:

Select "Other" under "Chose Your Designation" and write "Elling Fund" in the text box provided.

South Oakland Shelter

Donations can be made online at:

Drayton Avenue Presbyterian Church Tribute Fund

Checks can be mailed to: 2119 Catalpa Dr., Berkley, MI, 4807

Previous Events





4:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Wessels & Wilk Funeral Home

23690 Woodward Ave.
Pleasant Ridge , MI 48069


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