Ellen Theresa Brown was born in Brooklyn, NY at St. Mary’s hospital to Hugh James Brown and Bridget Done (Bea) Campbell Brown on June 5, 1932. She went to be with her heavenly father on October 10, 2022 at age 90.
Her mother died when Ellen was four years old. Ellen and her father lived with family and friends until she was seven when he placed her in a boarding school for three years.
The Dominican Sisters who staffed the boarding school were the same order that she joined immediately after graduating from Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School in Brooklyn. As young Sister Donna Maria, OP, Ellen taught 1st -8th grade for twelve years at Fourteen Holy Martyrs Elementary School. She taught high school for eight years. She worked in Campus Ministry first at Northern Michigan and continued her campus ministry at University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Ellen earned a BA degree from St. John’s University in Queens in 1963. She later earned two Masters’ Degrees: one from St. Bonaventure College and one from Fordham University both located in New York. She went to her 60th high school reunion and marched in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with her Alma Mater, St. John’s University.
Ellen fell in love with Alaska, a love affair that lasted her whole life. She explored much of Alaska from west coast villages to the Inside Passage. She served as Minister for the Pipeline camps, and as a census worker in Kodiak. She home schooled 3 children at a gold mine off the Dalton Highway. She visited Barrow in the dark of winter. She experienced Sitka, Juneau, Gustavas, Glacier Bay, Unalaska and Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians. She explored every nook and cranny of Fairbanks.
As “Pinky,” Ellen clowned around painting kids’ faces. She also painted with watercolor and enjoyed teaching art and art history to children. She was a member of the Fairbanks’ Watercolor Society. As an artist, Ellen was able to “see” things in a different way.
Ellen enjoyed her job as a substitute teacher at Lathrop High School which she held until she retired at 88 years old.
Malachi came into Ellen’s life at age 2 when he watched “Dinosaur Train” on her TV at her beloved Moore Street Apartment. He continued to be her sweetheart and her reason for living. Malachi and his family visited Ellen at the Pioneer Home which brought her great joy.
Ellen had an attitude of gratitude for her many blessings. She was extremely appreciative for the compassionate care she received from the staff at Denali Center, the Pioneer Home, and Hospice.
Ellen is survived by countless cousins from the ten brothers and sisters of her mother and one cousin from her father, Marion Mary Peters. She remained in correspondence with many friends including Kitty Chickby and her 4th grade friend Mary Laurence.
Ellen certainly will be missed. Join in celebrating Ellen who was both steadfast in tradition and uniquely open-minded in living life.
Ellen’s Mass of Resurrection will be held Saturday, November 19, 2pm at St. Raphael Catholic Church. Immediately following in the Church social hall will be a reception celebrating Ellen’s life.