Remembering Volunteer Ellie Moskowitz

July 3, 2023

I am blessed. Because of Ellie Moskowitz.

Ellie was an extraordinary person, and I can say this because to date I have not met anyone like her. She was kind and thoughtful, pleasant and cheerful, gentle and generous. Everyone who met Ellie got the same impression of her and then remarked, “How did I ever meet such a sweet and lovely lady?”

Caption: Ellie Moskowitz (left) and Angela Franco with “the donkey” at the Mill’s “Enchanting Evening Along the Primrose Creek” event last summer.
Ellie Moskowitz (left) and Angela Franco with “the donkey” at the Mill’s “Enchanting Evening Along the Primrose Creek” event last summer.

She had a special artistic personality — confident yet insecure, shy yet bold, kind and sweet, patient, sincere, and trusting. And she never had a bad word to say about anyone. When I joined Phillips’ Mill, she joined, too. She jumped right in, and we volunteered together planning the art show and other events. When the drama committee needed a donkey head for the re-interpretation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” she purchased a pattern and bought the supplies, and we worked on that difficult project together, because instead of complaining, we kept on laughing. She lived life every day to the fullest, loving and enjoying her husband, Steve, and her daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, pets, and, of course, all her friends. 

We called ourselves “sister friends, sister artists.” We chose each other and we clicked; we fit so well as we enjoyed life and learning, always ready to go somewhere new and have fun, and, of course, good food was included in every adventure.

Every day Ellie had severe pain, but she pushed herself to enjoy her family and friends, to be present in each moment, and to complete her first-ever commissioned painting. When Ellie was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver and pancreatic cancer last August, we all cried and wondered how many more days she had left. She became determined and focused on living life and survived her 75th birthday in August. Each day she lived with grace and poise. The chemo treatments made her terribly sick. As I called and spoke to her each day, she always asked, “How are you doing?” — forever concerned for others instead of herself. She never complained, and never said, “Why me?”

As the chemo treatments did not work and she eventually moved into hospice, I would visit her regularly, and so did her family and friends. She lost so much weight that we both fit lying down on her single hospital bed in the living room. We sat holding hands, comfortable in our silence.

One day not long ago she said to me, “When I am no longer here, I will still always be with you because we have a special bond.” I replied, “Oh Ellie, I would love that because I will miss you. But how will I know it’s you?” She smiled and said, “I don’t know. I have to get there first.” Then we both smiled at each other and giggled quietly.

Ellie died at home on Monday, June 5, 2023.

And that is why I am so blessed — because I am so proud of my sweet friend Ellie (Ellen) Denny Moskowitz. I miss her.

—Angela Marie Franco



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Illustration of the Phillips' Mill -Artist: Kathie Jankauskus