Mystic - Ellen Fitzpatrick Dander died Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in her apartment at Masonicare in Mystic, surrounded by her family at the age of 90. She was born Feb. 28, 1930, in Worcester, Mass., the second of two children and only daughter of Charles J. Fitzpatrick and Ellen Crowley Fitzpatrick.
Ellen was raised in East Brookfield, Mass. and graduated from David Prouty High School in Spencer, Mass. She went on to earn her bachelor's degree in education and psychology at Seton Hill College and later her master's degree in reading at University of Connecticut. She taught English at New London High School before starting her family. After being home with her three children, Tim, Sue and David for several years, she returned to teaching. She taught English and was also a guidance counselor at Carl C. Cutler Junior High School in Groton, from 1968 until she retired in 1991.
Ellen met her husband of 66 years, Emanuel "Dan" Dander, while they were both working at the Institute of Living in Hartford, following graduation from college. Ellen and Dan shared a deep commitment to the community of Groton/Mystic. Ellen supported Dan always in his local Democratic political involvement; and she built and nurtured countless meaningful relationships with students and staff alike during her teaching career in Groton. Ellen loved people, loved to entertain and was a master party planner. Perhaps the fourth of July cookouts she hosted with Dan were some of the most memorable of her parties! Friendship was a core value to Ellen and she leaves behind many cherished friends, along with her family. Ellen never stopped and ran circles around all of us! She loved skiing in her younger days and always also loved the beach. She made it a point to sneak away to the Dunes in Westerly, whenever she could. In later years, Ellen and Dan enjoyed many wonderful fun- and friend-filled years in Bradenton, Fla. where they spent winters until just a few years ago.
Ellen leaves behind her husband Dan and their three children; and nine grandchildren: Timothy P. Dander of Yorktown, Va. and his wife Tecie; Sue E. Dander of Westerly and her children: Dorie, Bert, Britta, Hannah, Olivia and Sophia; and David E. Dander of Colchester and his wife Lori and their children, Michelle, Michael and Melissa. In addition, she leaves behind her special great-niece, Arden Dahl; and her special Crowley cousins: Beatrice, Janet, Alice and Barbara. Ellen's brother Charles Fitzpatrick; her niece Bonney Fitzpatrick Dahl; and her nephew Chucky Fitzpatrick predeceased her. Ellen also leaves her very special and devoted goddaughter, Bonnie (Brundage) Cummings of Salem.
Due to COVID-19, a private burial Mass will be held at St. Mary's Church in Groton with a true Celebration of Life at a later date. There will be no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Groton Public Library C/O Ellen Dander's Memorial, 52 Newtown Road, Groton, CT 06340.
We would like to thank Masonicare in Mystic and their wonderful staff for their compassion and care over the last three years, together with Eileen Baird who helped to keep Ellen and Dan in their home until just three years ago and also Sandra, Ellen's caretaker, who has been her Angel over the past few difficult weeks. It takes a village and they were all part of Ellen's village. The family invites you to visit www.mysticfuneralhome.com
to leave a note of condolence.