On the morning of March 16, 2013, after a rapid decline and exactly as she wanted, peacefully in her sleep, the Hon. Ellen E. Brodie, Ret., left us on her greatest adventure of all. Born on December 15, 1918, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Ellen Edith Cameron attended school through the 12th grade in the city of Regina, Saskatchewan. Finding her way to a job in the big city of Ottawa, Ontario, Ellen met her soon to be husband Ian Brodie at a dance and the two were married October 4, 1941.
After a world war and three boys, Ellen and Ian sought better jobs and warmer weather. The family was loaded into a baby blue '55 Chevy and the trek began to Southern California. After living in San Diego and Garden Grove for a few years, the Brodies moved to the San Antonio Heights area of Upland, California, in 1961. At the house named Fair View, Ellen and Ian raised their family and a fourth son for the next
47 years.
Ellen first worked as a Sheriff dispatcher, but soon got a secretarial job at the Public Defender's Office in Ontario. The attorneys there recognized mom's amazing drive and encouraged her to become an attorney. That's exactly what she did. Having never attended college before, Ellen entered night law school at the University of La Verne in the fall of 1970 at the age of 51. Four years later and after passing the Bar Exam, Ellen became an attorney with the Public Defender's Office.
Her drive persisted, and after a time of politicking, Ellen was appointed Municipal Court Judge on the final day of Jerry Brown's first stint as governor in 1982. On the bench, mom found her stride and loved her professional life ever after. Officially retiring in 1992, Ellen continued to sit "on assignment", making her final judicial decision in 2002.
In her private life, and beyond making the best jams and soups, Ellen volunteered and sat as a board member for too-many-to-list local non-profits and associations, including the University of La Verne Board of Trustees, the San Antonio Water Company, the Price Foundation and for over 30 years the Friends of the Upland Public Library.
If you knew mom, you knew she loved to travel. Raising her fist and with a triumphant "ungawa!", she visited every continent save Antarctica. She loved going with friends but was equally happy to go it alone with a tour group. And if you knew mom, you knew she was also generous beyond words. She relished taking her sons, and their families, on road trips through the States and European tours alike. With that impish twinkle in her eyes, mom would gleefully take advantage of her celiac disease and order a glass of wine and a bowl of ice cream as her favorite snack or even lunch.
Ellen was also an accomplished oil painter and was typically flabbergasted when she won a prize at a local showing.
Most of all, mom loved her time with family. Ellen's four boys, three daughters-inlaw, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, and by whom she is survived, were equally precious to her. It is hard for us her boys, Ian, Jim, Gregor and David, and our families, to think of a more inspiring, gracious and loving human being. You will be missed mom. Bon Voyage!
With her son David battling Multiple Myeloma since 2011, Ellen would have wanted donations to be made online and in her memory to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at www.victoriabrodie.com.
A public memorial is scheduled from 1pm to 3pm on Wednesday, April 3, at theCarnegie Cultural Center, 123 D St., Upland.

Published in Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on Mar. 28, 2013