Eleanor's Story

Trenton - Eleanor Clare Kates passed away on August 18, 2016. She had battled Parkinson's disease in her final years, but she died peacefully at home in Trenton, surrounded by loving family members. She was 89 years old.
To the many who loved her, including her beloved husband Bob who survives her, she was known simply as 'Ellie'. Ellie was born in 1927 in Brooklyn, New York to Sam and Mary Hackman. Her father Sam, whom she loved very much, was an immigrant from Eastern Europe. Sam would have been amazed to see how his daughter's life unfolded. Throughout the many opportunities of her life, Ellie was always excited but humble, as she had known a harder side of life growing up.
Ellie and Bob started their family in Gary, Indiana, where they were active in union and racial equality movements. From there they moved their family to several locations including Chicago; Worcester, MA; Tanzania, East Africa; Providence, RI; and finally, Trenton, ME. Through Bob's work they had the opportunity to travel widely around the world and Ellie's adventurous spirit and love of arts and culture were reflected in her many stories. Recognizing her natural compassion, people loved talking to Ellie. Even while in the line at the grocery store she would have several conversations with clerks and other customers.
In each of the places that Ellie lived, she led projects aimed at improving people's lives. She started the Elm Park Center for Early Childhood Education in Worcester, MA, still running more than forty years later. Ellie earned her master's degree in counseling at the age of fifty, and for 20 years specialized in gerontology. She provided clinical support to the Emmaus Homeless Shelter in Ellsworth.
She had three children who will miss her very much: Katherine Kates and Barbara Kates of Bangor, and Jonathan Kates of Worcester, Massachusetts. Truly the center of Ellie's happiness in her later years, and the reason she moved to Trenton, was her grandchildren: Sara Kates-Chinoy of Portland, OR; Sam Kates-Goldman of Olympia WA; Jesse Kates-Chinoy of El Salvador; Hannah Shepard presently of Bangor; Miriam Kates-Goldman of Bangor; and Shanyu Kates presently of San Francisco, CA. Their love for her can be seen through their many Grandma stories.
Ellie's two son-in-laws, Dennis Chinoy and Sol Goldman, were very dear to her and she was so pleased to welcome into the family her grandchildrens' spouses Wade Shepard, Eric Nelson, and Mariemm Pleitez. Ellie felt blessed to enjoy three wonderful great grandchildren: Petra, Jack, and Rivka. She loved her times with her sisters, Lee and Hinny; her brothers-in-law Leo and Lou and nieces, nephews, cousins and their families.
A memorial service is being planned for the fall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ellie's name to either the Elm Park Center for Early Childhood Education, 284 Highland St., Worcester, MA or the Emmaus Homeless Shelter, 51 Main St., Ellsworth, ME
Published in Bangor Daily News
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