Ellen Siska was more than a writer.
"She really was a fighter," said her sister, Elaine Scrobe of Richmond, Va. "She enjoyed the time she had. She would say, 'I'm not going to waste my time. I'm going to do stuff.'"
Scrobe said Siska did as much as was possible even in the final stages of her battle with acute myelogenous leukemia, a form of blood cancer.
Siska, who wrote a weekly NASCAR column for The York Dispatch, died April 5 at her sister's home. Siska, formerly of York, was 55.
She also leaves a son, Jonathan Shutz of Hanover; two daughters, Hayden Siska of Calabash, N.C., and Hope Siska of Ocean Island Beach, N.C.; and her parents, Betty and Robert Slothour, both of Hanover.
A memorial service for Siska will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at Hanover Church of the Brethren, 601 Wilson Ave. in Hanover.
A 2006 York College graduate, Siska -- who lived in Calabash -- was a NASCAR reporter for ESPN.com.
Racing fan: She was a freelance NASCAR columnist for The York Dispatch from February 2006 through July 2010, when she was
diagnosed with cancer, said Steve Heiser, the newspaper's sports editor.
In her final column, published Feb. 27, 2011, Siska wrote about her health condition, cancer experience and love for NASCAR. Heiser said Siska was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about NASCAR racing and was a fan at heart.
"But she was also not afraid to criticize NASCAR when she felt it was deserved," he added. "She always looked out for the fans of the sport."
Siska was one of the most popular columnists at the Dispatch, Heiser said. Her columns consistently attracted a wide readership.
"When she got sick and left the Dispatch, her absence left a hole in our sports section that simply couldn't be filled," Heiser said. "She will be greatly missed in York and beyond."
Jeff Gordon: Scrobe said her sister loved NASCAR and was devastated she was no longer able to write columns after her illness. Siska's favorite driver was Jeff Gordon, Scrobe said.
"Even though she was supposed to be objective, but Jeff Gordon always had her heart," Scrobe said with a laugh.
Siska overcame a lot of personal challenges in her life, including the death of a son, Edward Siska, from sudden infant death syndrome, Scrobe said. Siska's daughter, Hope, almost died from bacterial meningitis.
Scrobe said Siska's brother David Slothour died several years ago of lung cancer.
"We had lots of sadness, but (Siska) was always very positive," Scrobe said. "She always fought through everything, and she loved her kids."
--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at 505-5438 or email@example.com.