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Ellen Kelleher Lee, 88, of Old Saybrook, formerly of Hartford and Enfield, died on Jan. 4, surrounded by her loving family. Born in Hartford, daughter of Richard Kelleher and Julia (Bogacz) Kelleher, she graduated from Weaver High School, class of 1948. She married her high school sweetheart, Thomas J. Lee, Jr., and together they started what would become the most meaningful part of her life, her family.
Ellen loved the beach, loved her town of Old Saybrook, and got special joy from spending summers at Old Lyme Shores with the Wardwells and the Goldens. She also enjoyed many awesome trips to Ireland with her children and grandchildren, and lifelong friend Jerry Gorman.
She was a lover of dogs, particularly golden retrievers, and all of nature’s creatures (except spiders!). Ellen also was a very talented artisan/craftsman (photography, painting, basket making, sewing); many of her works have been passed down to her family. Gardening was also something Mom excelled at; she had beautiful gardens wherever she lived.
She is survived by her children, daughter Kathleen and Edward Russell of Suffield; daughter Karen Vivian Lee (Houston) and Joe Milbier of Venice, Florida, and Eastham, Massachusetts; son Kevin and Barbara Lee of East Hartford; son Kerry Lee and Laura Graf of Scotland; and daughter-in-law Vera Almeida Lee of Old Lyme. She was predeceased by her husband Tom, and son Kenneth. Gramma also leaves nine grandchildren, Kevin Russell, Katy Walpole, Candice Wakefield, Thomas Russell, Kenzy York, John Lee, Casey Menard, and Brandon and Alex Lee; and nine great-grandchildren, Elizabeth, Kieva, Harper, Judah, Kenny, Jack, Charlotte, Jovie, and Hailey. As both Mom and Dad requested, burial will be in Ireland, surrounded by family, in the Irish Sea.
We wish to thank the many caregivers who cared for her as if she were their Mom, Chev, Irene, Beverly, Angela, and Dani. Also a special thanks to Heather and Jennifer for supplying her daily with her most favorite Dairy Queen vanilla ice cream cone.
We will miss her quiet strength, her sense of humor, and love of family.
Calling hours will be held on Jan. 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Swan Funeral Home, 1224 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook. A memorial service will begin at 6:30 p.m. during calling hours. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Strong House Adult Day Center, 546 Durham Rd., Madison, CT 06443, or at stronghousect.org.
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