17 July 2008

Singer Jo Stafford Dies, So Does Steve

I just found out from my friend Lee Hartsfeld’s blog that singer Jo Stafford died yesterday.

Billie Holiday said that Jo’s voice is like an instrument.

Click pic to read more about Jo. I don't feel much like writing.

I also found out today, but not from Lee, that my friend Steve died a few weeks ago. I got a small, thin, tight envelope in the mail today from my friend Sara, with a single newspaper clipping in it.

I was and am stunned.

“Stephen Frank [sic] Ells, 73, died peacefully Monday, June 30, 2008, from his illness at residence after a long devotion to his family and the environment.

Born in Boston in 1935, he grew up in Waltham on Trapelo Farm. He was a graduate of the Belmont Hill School, Harvard University and Harvard Law.

As a lieutenant commander in Naval Intelligence, he endured trying times with the East aboard the USS Midway.

During his career he was with Choate, Hall and Stuart Law Firm, the State Department of Natural Resources, the Conservation Law Foundation, the Massachusetts Area Planning Council and was Governor Frank Sargeant’s chief legal council. He then worked tirelessly to clean up Boston Harbor and the rest of the region while at the Environmental Protection Agency until retirement in 1990.

During retirement he continued his dedication to his family, land preservation and a lifelong love of birds. The furthering of his mother’s genealogical work proved invaluable. His efforts for Estabrook Woods and Thoreau country in general spoke volumes. Even the bobolinks benefited from his time here.

He is survived by his fiancée, Susan McMurray; his three sons, David, Nathaniel and Jonathan; and their mother Laura. He is also survived by his three granddaughters.


I missed the memorial service. And I have missed him; he decided several years ago our friendship somehow compromised his relationship with Susan. I will never understand that or ever fully recover from the amputation.

He was my friend. Few people have made me laugh or think as much as he.

Steve Ells
March 2, 1935–June 30, 2008

No comments: