Ensign Leininger’s Obituary


Ensign Leininger, 98, passed away on Monday, January 16, 2023 at his home on Artesian Ave in Chicago. Ensign was charming, curious, and creative. He had an uncanny ability to connect with people and enjoy their company. 

Allison Ensign Leininger was born June 10, 1924 to Albert Allison Leininger and Anna Evelyn Ensign in Tokyo, Japan where they were serving as missionaries.

They returned to the USA in May of 1929 and lived first in Pennsylvania and later in Long Island, New York.

Ensign graduated college from Columbia University in 1943.  He then attended Biblical Seminary (now New York Theological Seminary) graduating in 1945.  He married Gladys Elizabeth Marth on August 7, 1947 in Dixon, Ill. 

After serving 2 congregations in Louisiana, he and Gladys traveled to the Philippines as missionaries, working with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. Ensign learned the Philippine languages Bicol and Tagalog.  He could speak to people in their own language – in church, on the streets, or in rural villages. He worked with a team on a new translation of the Bible into Bicol. He and Gladys had 8 children – five girls, two boys, and one boy who died in infancy.  All but the oldest and the youngest were born in the Philippines. where they worked for 20 years.

Ensign and Gladys returned to the USA in 1970, and pastored churches in Woodhull, IL and Calumet City, IL. Ensign formally retired in 1989 but continued to be of service in the church and community.  

He worked with the Community of Churches, the Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry, his homeowners association and other ministries. He provided interim leadership to Morgan Park Presbyterian, Trinity Methodist, and Bethany Union Church.  He also worked for positive racial relations through Unity in Diversity, and in Morgan Park Presbyterian Church.

Ensign was preceded in death by his brother James, his infant son David, his parents, his daughter Joy Leininger, and his sister Mary Elizabeth Leininger Morsink.

He is survived by his children: Connie Leininger, Linda Denberry, Patricia (Phil Bardell), Kenneth (Gladys) Leininger, Rebecca (Jon) Ahrendsen, Stephen Leininger, and son-in-law, Michael Klubock. 

His 8 grandchildren are Lisa Denberry, Trale (Margaret) Bardell, Miles (Janet) Bardell, and Marli (Nick) Malkewicz, Jimmie Branson, Andrea (Michael) McLoughlin, Elizabeth (Kyle) Dupic, and Karl Ahrendsen. He has twenty-two great-grandchildren. 

A memorial service for Ensign Leininger will be held on February 25 at 11 am at Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, 2017 W 110th Place, Chicago.
Donations can be sent to Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, 2017 W. 110th Place, Chicago, IL 60643 or online: https://morganparkpres.org/donate/