Ellen McCarthy Howe

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    - Maililani Bailey
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    - Alissa Vaillancourt
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    - Suzanne Leland-Ayler
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PRINCETON, Mass. - Ellen McCarthy Howe, 84, died peacefully surrounded by her family April 27, 2013, at her home. Ellen was born in Rumford, the daughter of John and Margaret McCarthy.

She was predeceased by her husband of many years, Alan F. Howe, which was truly a marriage of love and devotion. Ellen is survived by her children, Timothy J. Trafton of Swan's Island and Dexter, Margaret V. Trafton of Ashburnham, Mass., Sarah E. Trafton Anderson of Gardner, Mass., Amy P. Trafton of Swan's Island and Matthew M. Trafton of Rutland, Mass.; former husband and lifelong friend, Fred P. Trafton; as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Ellen is also survived by her siblings, Patrick E. McCarthy, Margot E. Anderson, John W. McCarthy, Mary Catherine Hoffman, Kevin R. McCarthy, Michael A. McCarthy and Terence E. McCarthy; and many nieces and nephews. She will be remembered fondly by her dear friends, Jane and Mia of Princeton, Mass., Eva and Lenora of Swan's Island, and her lifelong friend, Wilma. Ellen was also predeceased by her brother, Denis McCarthy; and sister, Veronica MacDonald Loud.

Ellen's love of education and reading began at an early age, along with an affinity for cards and bridge, all of which were lifelong interests. Although she lived much of her adult life in Massachusetts, Ellen forever loved her home state of Maine, returning frequently for visits and nearly every summer to a small, family island off the coast of Maine, where she and Al were homeowners for many years, and where the entire extended family has many happy memories. Ellen attended St. Elizabeth College, Morristown, N.J., studied library science at Northeastern University and graduated from Worcester State College in 1983. She served as Princeton's librarian for 20 years, and had a talent for fostering a love of reading in family, friends and others. Ellen was the former chair of the Democratic town committee and instrumental in preserving the beauty of Princeton. Ellen was a gourmet chef, and for many years she hosted and prepared the meals for family holidays, including the very best strawberry rhubarb pie. She also took courses at Worcester Craft Center, developing weaving and Nantucket basket-making skills, her signature color throughout her lifetime was various shades of blue and all who knew her will forever remember her stylishly garbed in the color. Family and friends will especially miss Ellen's sense of humor and wit, her children have especially fond memories of her taking the family station wagon airborne over the railroad bump on the back road to Nana's house, the penultimate moment always punctuated with an exuberant, "Thank you Ma'am!" Ellen was the proud matriarch of a large and loving family.

Ellen believed strongly in education and donated her body to the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine. Friends and family are invited to celebrate her life 12:30-2:30 p.m. May 11 at her home. A service also will be held in the summer on Ellen's beloved Swan's Island. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to Dan Hart Memorial Court, care of Terry Hart, Radford Road, Princeton, MA 01541; or Swans Island Library, P.O. Box 12, Swan's Island, ME 04685.
Published in BDN Maine on May 9, 2013
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