We remember the incomparable Ellen Holleran

January 9th, 2019 by Chuck Morrison



Some words from one of her dearest friends, Pamela Richards-Visnovsky:

Ellen has been my friend for 52 years.  I would like to honor her by sharing some of the things she taught us and some of the many inspirations she was and will always be. Ellen was more than a warrior when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer over 8 years ago.  She attacked it, but barely ever spoke of it.  She never allowed the disease to diminish her in any way.  That was her choice.  She never really liked talking about it.  If you brought it up, she may have told you she did not want to discuss.  It wasn’t denial.  She just wanted to live while she could and refused to let her cancer define her in any way.

If Ellen taught us anything, she taught us that nothing is more important than laughter with those that you love.  Her sense of humor was extraordinary up to the very end.  She found the humor in everything and it always helped to make things a little lighter.

Ellen’s family was her rock.  Her husband, Tom and her daughters, Laura and Molly were her stoic advocates.  The comfort and the love they provided is unprecedented.  As every mother would do Ellen tried to protect her girls from the seriousness of her condition at times.  She wanted to spend however much time they had in joy not doom and gloom.

The final chapter of Ellen’s life was that of a total rock star.  She had a life very well lived. Not one ounce of self-pity ever from the woman who never had one gray hair on her head at age 64 and I might add never needed eye glasses.  Perfect vision!

We could tell stories forever about the time she almost missed the plane for a treatment to NIH because she wanted to make one more run at Tussey.  Or how she insisted in early December when she really wasn’t feeling well that we go out in the woods and pick holiday berries instead of buying them.  She wanted to “do”.  She wanted to “live”. Telling a friend to bring her skis to a weekend retreat when there was no snow in sight or in the forecast because, “It might happen”! Sitting around doing nothing was not in her MO when she could be skiing, kayaking, hiking, gardening, cooking, shopping, movie going, biking, exercise class.   Believe me, I could go on.  We must get busy “LIVING” while we can.

Ellen loved her community.  She may not have been aware but in spite of all the Bestwick assistance she received and appreciated whole heartedly she helped the organization as well with her amazing perspectives and individualistic attitude.  So much to be learned from that.

I trust that today she is smiling down on all of us and skiing endless powder.

With love and admiration for a life well lived.

Pam Richards-Visnovsky

View Ellen’s Obituary Here

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