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Sarah Ellyn Farley was born in Roanoke, Virginia on Nov. 13, 1972, to David M. Farley and Joan F. Farley, and was a dutiful big sister to her only brother, Johnathan D. Farley. She passed on Sept. 13, 2010, after a brave fight with cancer. Ellyn's childhood was replete with the usual events, including golf outings with her father and Johnathan, Sunday mornings spent at mass reluctantly wearing a dress, and otherwise enjoying life at her family's lake house. Another one of Ellyn's enjoyable activities was spending time with her NanNar, through whom she picked up some of her humorous quotes. Ellyn eventually left Roanoke to attend Purdue University in Indiana. She majored in Philosophy, Political Science and Japanese and excelled in her studies and in her personal relationships, ultimately serving as president of her sorority. Her voracious thirst for knowledge led her to enroll in Loyola University Chicago where she received her law degree. She was an exceptional lawyer, sharing her talents with Ganetson Santora, Clausen Miller and Cozen O'Connor. Always one to take up for the underdog, Ellyn was recently named Pro Bono Illinois Attorney of the Month. On February 17, 2006, Ellyn married Jennifer Tobits in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They shared a home in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Their happy family included their golden retriever, Rilke, and pug, Ted. Many afternoons were spent on Montrose Beach swimming with the dogs. Ellyn was an avid traveler, taking yearly trips with her mom to distant places including Spain, Ireland and Switzerland. While upon first meeting Ellyn might have seemed shy, those who befriended her found her to be the opposite. She was known for her unique turns-of-phrase, many inherited from her father, and for being a perpetual prankster. She could always be counted on for a chuckle and had a penchant for temporary tattoos. She was thoughtful and generous, with a strong love for the musical works of fellow southerner Dolly Parton. She was also, as she often proclaimed, an excellent dancer. Ellyn was an amazing individual who will be sorely missed by everyone she ever met. Ellyn, it was an honor and a privilege to know you and we will always cherish your memory. Friends and family are welcome to celebrate Ellyn's life on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010 at St. Gertrude's Church at 1420 W. Granville in Chicago. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. and a mass will begin at 11 a.m. A brunch will follow at Uncommon Ground on Devon Ave. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Ellyn's name to One Tail at a Time, 3303 W. Ainslie St. #3, Chicago, IL, 60625, (217) 891-5741.

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Published in Chicago Tribune on Sep. 15, 2010.
Memories & Condolences
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63 entries
August 21, 2011
I have just now learned of Ellyn's untimely passing, and am flabbergasted! I had the joy of knowing Ellyn in Chicago, in the late 1990's, as a dear friend. As long as I can remember the mischievous twinkle in her eyes, her infectious and raucous laughter, her quirky dance moves, the furrow between her brows that accompanied her serious streaks, her penchant for pithy movie quotations, and her inexplicable fondness for Rolling Rock beer (it must have been 'a student thing'), ... her spark[le] will never be extinguished! My deepest sympathies to her friends and loved ones. (8/2011 -Oslo, Norway)
Desi Boyd
December 1, 2010
I am heartbroken to have just heard this news. I attended law school with sweet Ellyn and she was known and loved for her sparkle and witty remarks. She put a smile on any stressed-out law student she met. God bless Ellyn and may her family be comforted by these loving tributes.
Katie Colvin
November 23, 2010
So sad to hear of the loss of Ellyn. She was a super person. Ellyn was a go getter in junior high and high school. She was quite an energy at school and in the neighborhood. How sorry I am to the Farley family for their loss. She will be missed.
Susan Cooper-Madden
November 13, 2010
Happy Birthday, Ellyn. You were the perfect combination of brains, wit, charm, charisma and compassion. I will forever miss your amazing smile, funny stories, kindness, friendship and all of the joy and laughter you brought to my life. The world is a better place because you were in it.
Lisa Velez
October 22, 2010
I am not sure how to reach Ellyn's wife and parents, I am hoping you get notices of the entries here. I submitted Ellyn's great news from August, as well as news of her passing to Purdue. She will be mentioned in the College of Liberal Arts Magazine that will be published in April 2011. As well as the January/February 2011 issue of the Purdue Alumnus
Krista Ferrill-Donahue
October 2, 2010
I was lucky enough to know Ellyn professionally. She was opposing counsel in a case we worked on for two years. She was an honest, trustworthy, and talented litigator. She was a credit to our profession, and I wish there were more lawyers like her.
Kyle Roehler
September 29, 2010
There are some people whose lives are meant to inspire one another and she definitly has done that! Always the smiling face with the positive attitude! We have been blessed to know her!
Michelle Blankenship
September 28, 2010
To the common empty gaze of undergraduate faces in a philosophy course Ellyn brought uncommon relief in her knowing eye, her witting grin, her furrowed brow -- on her face, the visual reward of a good soul so keen to learn, so able to do so, and possessed of the best sense of humor. I shan't soon forget our long chats in the office, that blessed teary eye upon getting a 'B', her turns of phrase, the stride of her gait so endearingly close to awkward, her bright and good mind, and above all that fine mix of stern thought and gentle heart, bundled up in one very fine person. I barely knew thee, good student.
J.A. Cover
September 21, 2010
Everyone has their own great memories of Ellyn that make us smile. When I shared the sad news of Ellyn's passing with my sister Kate, she said she remembered Ellyn because "Ellyn was always smiling and she was one of the only older kids to be nice to me on the bus." That pretty well sums up Ellyn... always smiling and always taking care of others. We will all miss her dearly.
Mark Tanis
September 21, 2010
I went to law school with Ellen and would see her from time to time at the courthouse. She always knew how to make people laugh and smile. She will be missed. Our condolences to you and your family.
Jim Saranteas
September 20, 2010
Dear Joan and family,

Please accept our most heartfelt condolences. Ellyn's light will make Heaven shine even brighter. We will continue to keep you and your family in our prayers.

With love,
Annette (Gillespie) Ayres
September 19, 2010
I have been so saddened by this news. When I think of Ellyn, I think of fun, laughter and life...I am sorry she is gone but am thankful for her amazing life and that I had the chance to know her.
Cheryl Reeves
September 18, 2010
It was my honor to be one of Ellyn's elementary school teachers- not once but twice. She always had a bright smile on her face. She accomplished so much in her short life. Those of us that knew her were blessed to say that she has been a part of our lives. Ellyn, I know you are smiling down upon your family and those that were lucky to know you.....just keep them laughing up there in Heaven- as I know you will. God Bless.
Cathy Wilkinson
September 18, 2010
Sorry to hear about the losted of your loved one. To Ellyn Farley's family. I worked at the same law firm with Ellyn for close to three years. She was a very, nice, kind and intellegent person and I'm sure she will be missed by her loved ones. I extend my deepest sympathy to the family at this time. May God bless each of you during this most difficult time.
Linda Davis-McAdory
September 17, 2010
I am so sorry to hear the unfortunate news about Ellyn. She was a wonderful childhood friend and it truly saddened me to hear about her passing. I can't believe it has been almost 10 years since I last spoke to her. She was such a bright star and wonderful person to everyone she met. Heaven is blessed...
Ashley Ratliff
September 17, 2010
My family and I were so saddened to hear of Ellyn's passing. She had the most tremendous sense of humor and was so incredibly talented. I was lucky enough to meet her in ballet class back in elementary school and enjoy her friendship throughout our school years. We were all blessed to have known her. Prayers for peace to her families, both here and in Chicago- heaven has gained one amazing angel.
Andrea Banner Farrell
September 17, 2010
Many hugs and prayers to the family and loved ones of Ellyn. Heaven has recieved a gem. I have many fond memories of elementary school antics and sleep overs. Not to mention some incredible high school memories. She was an amazing person and all who came in contact with her is blessed to have known her. May she rest in peace . . . and laughter. :)
Sheri Jones Smith
September 17, 2010
I am so sorry. I worked with Ellyn (as I knew her) at Clausen. She had so much heart. Although we didn't keep in touch after she left, I thought of her often with great fondness. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. The world is an emptier place without her.

Peg Andreou
Peg Andreou
September 17, 2010
David & Joan
I can't tell you how sorry we were to hear of Sarah Ellyn's death. It was truly a shock for we didn't know she was ill. Our heart goes out to you both. We are in Germany at present and will be unable to attend the memorial Mass tomorrow. We will be there in spirit with prayers for you all.
Warmest regards, Buddy and Carolyn Deverell
September 17, 2010
Reading these comments has me laughing in the middle of my tears. So many people touched by Ellyn Farley. So many delightful childhood and high school memories. I only wish I could have known the adult Ellyn -- but so nice to know she was true to herself and continued to be the amazing person we will all miss.
Jennifer Bird
September 17, 2010
I was certain 20 years ago when I graduated high school that I would never lose touch with my friends. This news of Ellyn's passing makes me regret that I did not keep up with her, that I didn't look her up on my trips to Chicago, that I did not even know she was sick. It is apparent that she made a great impact on the world and that doesn't surprise me one bit. I am confident that her spirit and legacy will continue to live on. Joan, David and Jonathan - you have my sincerest sympathies and prayers for peace.
Jennifer Feazelle
September 16, 2010
I am so sad to hear this news. Ellyn made me feel welcome when I moved to Roanoke so many years ago. My thoughts and prayers are with Ellyn's family.
Amy Roe Morrison
September 16, 2010
Ellyn and I were very close when we were at Purdue. My heart sank to hear that she had passed. She was such a light and always had a smile and giggle that I will remember. She made everything better just by walking in the room. I will pray for her family in this devastating time.
Krista Ferrill Donahue
September 16, 2010
I know Ellyn from jr high and high school as well as having the privilege of spending these years on the same street. I remember Ellyn for her amazing sense of humor and wicked intelligence. We have lost an amazing woman and from what I read Chicago lost a great lawyer and member of their community. Ellyn will be sadly missed especially of those lives she has touched personally and professionally. May God be with all her friends and family with his gracious love and help them find peace during this diffcult time. God Bless all of you!
Chris Hampton
September 16, 2010
It warms my heart to learn that someone who was a treasured childhood friend lived such a remarkable life. The world is poorer without you, Ellyn.
Yvonne Belanger
September 16, 2010
Ellyn was a friend of my daughter, Wendy, in school. Your children will have many friends come and go through their lives, there will be those special ones that stand out. Ellyn was one of those friends. She was such a pleasant young lady, always smiling and laughing. You can't help but smile when you think of her. My sincere and deepest sympathy to Ellyn's family and friends. There is another Angel in Heaven!
Robin Maxey
September 16, 2010
I was deeply saddened to learn of Ellyn's passing. I was a former law clerk for Ellyn and I will fondly remember her as being a gracious mentor who was always willing to help a fledgling attorney.

She was a brilliant lawyer who had an unsurpassed smile, razor sharp wit, and a sense of humor that she was never afraid to direct at herself. It was a joy to know her and I will always consider Ellyn both a friend and a mentor.
Ryan Kinch
September 16, 2010
My heart goes out to Ellyn's family & loved ones. I too have not seen Ellyn for many years but recall vividly her smile and remarkable humor...what a wonderful person this world has lost. She will be sadly missed.
Victoria Carper
September 16, 2010
I am deeply saddened to hear of this news. I never had the opportunity to meet Ellyn but if she was anything like her father Dave she was an exceptional person. Dave, I am really sorry. I will keep your entire family in my thoughts and prayers.
Jeannine Snellings
September 16, 2010
I always thought Ellyn had super powers. A brilliant musician, athlete, and wit. I can't believe she's gone. Sending lots of love to her friends and sweet family.
Erica Lipps-Marks
September 16, 2010
Where can I begin to describe my childhood friend Ellyn Farley? My memories are filled with laughter. She was one of those people that even on your rainiest days could make you smile. You always knew it was Ellyn even in a crowd, because that crowd was laughing. We were all lucky to have been apart of her world growing up. She was a wonderful girl and I wish I had gotten the chance to get to know her as a woman. She will be truly missed and we will think of Ellyn next month at our CSHS 20 year reunion. May your journey continue to be one full of laughter Ellyn.
Martha Richards
September 16, 2010
I was truly saddened to hear of Ellyn's passing. I met Ellyn when she worked at the Brambleton Center for Parks and Rec. She had an infectious smile, wicked sense of humor and was game for anything and everything that we could throw at her. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. God Bless.
Jodi Jekielek
September 16, 2010
I have not seen Ellyn since high school but I will always remember her sense of humor and her laugh. My heart goes out the Jennifer and the rest of her family. RIP.
Casie Permenter
September 16, 2010
Although I hadn't been in touch with Ellyn for many years, I still have fond memories of our hysterical times together during CSJH track and the infamous Canada trip. When it came to Ellyn, you never got away without laughing until your face was sore. What a beautiful soul she had. I am blessed to have known her. My thoughts are with her family and dear friends.
Wendy Maxey
September 16, 2010
Ellyn was an amazing friend for nearly 25 years and will be dearly missed. Her passion for family, work, life, travel and friends was inspiring. My condolences go out to the entire Farley family. I am a better person for having had her in my life.
Joe Skopitz
September 16, 2010
I am deeply saddened about the loss of Ellyn. I remember her in middle school and high school as an athletic, humorous, sweet girl. I love her mom dearly and have great empathy for the family. May God Bless You and allow you to be strong at such a time of great loss. My heart goes out to all of you & I will miss Ellyn dearly! Cave Spring '91
Christie Epperly-Lawless
September 15, 2010
What I remember most about Ellyn was her smile - I was so envious of her perfect teeth! We, as far back as jr high and high school, are fortunate that she shared that smile with us. Rest in eternal peace, Ellyn.
Bridget Buback
September 15, 2010
I will always remember the fun Ellyn and I had as little girls running around the neighborhood. We were always playing in the creek, making forts or bugging the boys to play hide and seek. We had a lot of fun memories to look back on as little kids. I have not seen Ellyn since high school, but I can tell by everyone's thoughts and sentiments that she grew into an amazing woman. She will be greatly missed, but I know that the Lord has her in his arms and she is surrounded with peace and love. My thoughts and prayers are with her parents and brother, and those who are grieving her loss.
Kim Caldwell-Longberry
September 15, 2010
My deepest sympathy goes out to Ellyn's family. I had the pleasure of being in Art class with Ellyn in high school and she constantly kept the class lively and laughing with her quick wit and wonderful charm. She was such an amazing woman and I know she accomplished great things in her lifetime...may God continue to bless her family and provide comfort and peace in this difficult time.
Tara Smith Harris
September 15, 2010
I worked with Ellyn when we were both young lawyers. I remember her as always being cheerful, hardworking and kind. I was impressed to read about her dedication to pro bono endeavors. Her life and work clearly made a difference in other people's lives. She will be missed by many. My deepest thoughts, sympathy and prayers go out to all of Ellyn's family as you cope with this devastating loss.
Maricar Tinio
September 15, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with you. I remember Ellyn fondly, especially one art club trip to NYC. Peace to you.
Michelle Morris
September 15, 2010
Ellyn was an amazing woman, truly a bright light in the world. She was brilliant,caring, and kind. It was my privilege to count her as a friend. My heart goes out to Ellyn's wife Jen, and her whole family.
Lawrie Hollingsworth
Lawrie Hollingsworth
September 15, 2010
Your memory will live on through all the lives you have touched. You will be missed.
Courtney Williams Turman
September 15, 2010
I am blessed to have known Ellyn and will forever keep her fondly in my memories. The world has definitely lost one of their bright stars; however, I know that she will be keeping god's staff entertained with her humor and looking out for those less fortunate.
Caralee Brown
September 15, 2010
I first met Ellyn when my daughter moved in with her in Crete, IL. I was always impressed with her sense of humor and love of life. Her Mom and Dad are just great people and I share their sorrow. She was a wonderful person and will be truly missed by all.
Michael Pope
September 15, 2010
We will miss you!
Jenny Mays-DeLorenzo
September 15, 2010
Ellyn was an incredible lady. I loved her sense of humor and always looked forward to seeing her when her work brought her to Iowa. She left a lasting impression on all she met.
Leah Swanson
September 15, 2010
Ellyn was a lovely, bright young woman. I'll always remember her dedication to helping others and her great sense of humor.

We send our deepest sympathy to her family.
Connie Pullen
September 15, 2010
I'm in Sydney, Australia, and didn't know Ellyn but am a friend of Susana Darwin's - see above on this list. Ellyn must have been a special person as I can feel Susana's sadness from down under. My respects to her friends and family. Cheers.
September 15, 2010
It is with a heavy heart that I extend my deepest sympathies to The Farley family. Although I have not seen Ellyn in many years, I will never forget her quick wit, her unmatched humor, her athleticism, and her musical talent. Many of my Junior High & High School memories included Ellyn. I am sure she met this challenge in her life head on, as I remember her doing with everything else. She is no longer in pain, no longer suffering, and is peacefully on her eternal journey. I pray that God will bring peace and comfort to the Farley family during this difficult time. Ellyn, you were one of a kind and you will be missed!!!
Sara Goodman-Osborne
September 15, 2010
I am deeply saddened to hear of Ellyn's passing. My deepest sympathy is extended to all of Ellyn's family and friends. Although I have not seen Ellyn in years, I have not forgotten her charm and sense of humor, and I never will.
Kevin Lewis
September 15, 2010
Ellyn will forever be remembered as a kind, humorous and giving person. I was fortunate to have know her.
Elizabeth Pawlowski
September 15, 2010
Having just heard the news, I am devastated. But the first thought that went through my mind was from Spring Run Swim Club on July 4th. The infamous watermelon contest. Ellyn and I have laughed over it for years! I believe that this is the way that she wants to be remembered--funny til the end. My sympothies are sent out to her family and friends.
Jenny Mays-DeLorenzo
September 15, 2010
I had the honor and pleasure of passing my days at Purdue with Ellyn. Without Ellyn at my side, my college years would have been less joyful.
Megan Feinberg
September 15, 2010
I cannot express this tremendous loss to all who knew and loved her ... my fondest memories will always be her unparalleled storytelling style and overall strength. I will miss her always and forever.
Dena Pope
September 15, 2010
I will not ever find the words to fully describe the amazing woman Ellyn was or how blessed I was to know her. My life will forever be better for having been a part of hers and I will miss her always.
Christine Ducat
September 15, 2010
Ellyn was my youngest sister, Kim's, roomate at Purdue. Ellyn always was a family favorite, and I'm sorry I didn't get to see her more often. I will never forget a memorable day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Ellyn, Kim, and a great group of friends.
Steve Thompson
September 15, 2010
I met Ellyn only once during a trial here in Iowa. I was immediately impressed by her dedication to the practice and her unique abilities. I am even more impressed to learn how much time she dedicated to pro bono endeavors. It is truly charitable. My thoughts and prayers go to her family. I am confident she is at peace.
Thomas Joensen
September 15, 2010
It is not easy to put in to words how much we will all miss Ellyn. We all thought we had more time with her because she was such a fighter and that if anyone, she would somehow beat the odds. Ellyn made it easy to be around her no matter what the circumstance. Her quirky sense of humor and passion for living were incredible. She was a talented lawyer, a tireless advocate, and the best friend anybody could have.
Kevin Driscoll
September 15, 2010
While this is a sad time many of us can not help but smile when we think of our memories with Ellyn. Although I had not seen her in years, many of my high school memories include her. My favorite one is when she had to wait for the life gaurd to leave the beach (senior beach week) so she could ride the waves on her blow up alligator! Thanks for the memories Ellyn! Rest in peace!

Dana Noell Pitts
Dana Pitts
September 15, 2010
A treasured friendship, every memory a blessing--Ellyn's ready, infectious laugh and keen intellect will always be sorely missed.
Susana Darwin
September 15, 2010
Over the last couple of years, I've had the opportunity to work with Ellyn in her capacity as an attorney with Cozen O'Connor. Her passion, dedication and caring attitude was evident in our encounters. I will miss working with her.

May God bless her loved ones through the caring of family and friends during this difficult time.
Kris Bekker
September 15, 2010
It was our pleasure and good fortune to have been part of the life of Ellyn Farley. We only spent a small amount of time with her and Jennifer but came to love her too. She loved to tease me about my football team and I enjoyed her company. You will be missed may God now hold you tight in his arms and make you well. God Bless All of Ellyn's family. LOVE, Jim & Karen Felt
Jim & Karen Felt
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