Obituary : Ellen N. Kendrick
She had good long run. A few months into her 90s, Ellen Norton Kendrick died Thursday, July 16, at Martha's Vineyard Hospital.
"I'm 90 years old," she told everyone with great pride. Her story began April 25, 1919, when she was born to Mary Quinlan Norton and William H. Norton in Jamesville, N.Y., just outside of Syracuse. Ellen graduated from Syracuse University with three degrees: a B.A. in chemistry and then two M.A. degrees. She was a loyal member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority and Eta Phi Upsilon, Senior Women's Honorary Society.
Ellen taught science for 45 years in the Syracuse Public Schools where she also was a guidance counselor and truant officer. She helped many children. She even went back as a volunteer after retiring. Ellen married James C. Kendrick, also an educator, and they had two daughters. Her husband, Jim, and her two sisters, Patricia Norton Casey and Ann E. Norton, preceded her in death.
Ellen's pride was her two daughters, Katie and Ann. Katie also graduated from Syracuse University and the University of Arkansas with a degree in special education and is a vision teacher in Osceola County, Fla. Ann is a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, a graduate of Trinity University in Washington, D.C., and the University of Maryland, and a co-founder of the Hope CommUnity Center/Farmworker Ministry in Apopka, Fla.
Ellen was a lifelong Catholic and a member of St. Elizabeth's in Edgartown; St. John the Evangelist in Syracuse, and St. Francis of Assisi, Apopka, Fla.
Ellen was a character, a personality, and unforgettable. She was determined, feisty, opinionated, and engaged with people and life right up until her death. She adored the Island, especially the Herring Creek Farm where she lived. Ellen was a summer resident for 60 years. She held court daily on South Beach and swam at the Bend in the Road. She was a regular at Linda Jean's and the Community Sing and a fan of the Striped Bass Derby. She talked to everyone and told them everything or told them off. Over the years, Ellen hosted thousands of people at her home with style and grace. You might have spotted her driving around the Island at five miles an hour with her white hair, hat, and hugging the wheel with 50 cars lined up behind her. Ellen, you were an icon, a legend, and bigger than life. The Island will not be the same without you. We miss you and your stories already. You are now the story yourself. You and Walter Cronkite are probably having a political discussion already.
A funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday, July 25, at 11 am at St. Elizabeth's in Edgartown. You may honor Ellen by sending donations to the Hope CommUnity Center, 1016 N. Park Ave. Apopka, FL 32712 (offm.org), where she volunteered.