Barbara Ellis

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  • "Cdr. Ellis was my head nurse at PSNH, she was awesome!"
    - Arthur Hendrickson
  • "While I did not know Cdr. Ellis, I thank you for your..."
    - R Warburton
  • "I never knew Commander Ellis, however she appears to have..."
    - Christina
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Cdr. Barbara Ellis

WINDHAM, Maine - Cdr. Barbara Ellis (USN, Ret.) died Jan. 5, 2013, at her home in Windham, Maine. She was 91.

While ill health had robbed Cdr. Ellis of much of her independence in recent years, she had enjoyed a long life of travel, interesting experiences and the companionship of family and friends.

The only child of Pauline and Irving Ellis, Cdr. Ellis was born and raised in New Britain, Conn, where she attended local schools. She received a Bachelor of Science degree at Elmira College and earned a Masters from Yale University School of Nursing. Upon graduation, Cdr. Ellis worked at Grace New Haven Hospital.

When the Korean conflict broke out, Cdr. Ellis enlisted in the U.S. Navy, following in the footsteps of her mother, who had served as a nurse in the U.S. Navy Reserve during World War I. Her enlistment was the beginning of a long and impressive military career.

As a surgical nurse, Cdr. Ellis served at numerous locations in the Pacific, including a year in Japan and aboard the Navy's hospital ship, Repose. Her outstanding service during those years prompted her being included in several books written about the Navy's nurse corps.

After the Conflict, she accompanied wounded servicemen to Hawaii, and eventually returned to the States aboard the Repose. In the States, she received numerous assignments. These included Navy hospitals in California, Massachusetts and Maryland. Cdr. Ellis also taught at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.

During these years, Cdr. Ellis was part of a team that prepared an operating room manual for instructors, for which she received a special thanks from the Navy's Department of Medicine and Surgery. Her last assignment was as Nursing Service Administrator at the Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, NH. When the hospital closed in 1974, Cdr. Ellis decided to retire. It is said she was the last woman to leave the hospital.

Commendations during her 26 years of service were many and included the Korean Service Medal with two Battle Stars, Navy Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the United Nations Service Medal.

In retirement, Cdr. Ellis traveled the states of New England with visitors to the area, attended nursing reunions and visited with family members. She remained in Portsmouth until about six years ago when she moved to Windham to be closer to cousins, Edward and Sandra Ulrich. In addition to the Ulrichs, she is survived by three generations of cousins and many friends, some lifelong.

The family would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Remillong of Martin's Point, Portsmouth, and Dr. Edward Drasby, Scarborough, Maine, for the devoted medical care they provided to Cdr. Ellis for many years.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, at South Congregational Church, 90 Main St., New Britain, Conn. followed by interment with full military honors at Fairview Cemetery in New Britain. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to any Parkinson's organization in Cdr. Ellis' name.

Arrangements are by the Dolby Funeral Chapel, 434 River Road, Windham, Maine. Online condolences may be made to

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Published in Fosters from Jan. 10 to Jan. 13, 2013
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