Ellen Willard

July 29, 2021 - April 26, 2014

Ellen Connor Willard, 90, passed away April 26, 2014.  She is survived by her children, Margaret Van Fossan, Mary Joan Willard, Cathy Willard, James Willard, Nan Willard Cappo, and Beth Miller; 14 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren; and sisters Mary Brandt, Cathy Gilfillan, and Margaret Peake.  Her husband, Gradon F. Willard, predeceased her in 2007.


The oldest girl of five children, Ellen was raised in Philadelphia.  She attended nursing school on scholarship, and graduated during World War II.  She promptly joined the Army, where she served in both theaters of operation, crossing the Atlantic multiple times and traveling as far as Japan to care for returning U.S. troops. She met her husband, Gradon, a Navy officer, at an officers’ dance in New York City.  They married after the war.  Together they raised six children, and Ellen returned to nursing part-time when her children were older.


Ellen and Gradon were both active for 44 years in St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Perrysville, Pa., where Ellen taught many religion classes, led a Girl Scout Troop, was a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and helped relocate immigrant families from Vietnam and Bosnia.  She moved to Longwood, Florida, in 2003, where she joined Annunciation Catholic Church and volunteered at the Shepherd’s Hope clinic, and made many new friends at Village on the Green.


Ellen was independent, generous, and outgoing.  She kept her far-flung family close by keeping them informed of events in the lives of their siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins, childhood friends, and hometown happenings. Her life’s passion was caring for others, and she changed the lives of many, many people for the better.


Funeral mass at Annunciation Catholic Church, Altamonte Springs, Fla., on Thursday, May 1, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. Family will receive friends on Tuesday May 6th from 9:00-10:00 AM at the T. B. Devlin Funeral Home, 806 Perry Hwy. North Hills, followed by burial in North Side Catholic Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, donations to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, c/o St. Teresa Parish, 1000 Avila Court, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 would honor Ellen.


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