Obituary of Ellen R. Campbell
Ellen (Real) Campbell, 69, died at home on December 13, 2023, due to complications from ALS. She was surrounded by her loving family.
Ellen was born June 10, 1954, to the late James and Mary Real of Westfield, MA. Ellen graduated from Westfield High School in 1973. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from American International College in 1976. In 1982, Ellen earned an Associate Degree in Nursing from Greenfield Community College.
Ellen married David Campbell in 1984. Together, Ellen and David enjoyed family life and travel. David built Ellen a beautiful home in Belchertown where they raised their children Kevin and Grace. Their travels included family ski trips, summers on Cape Cod and more recently trips to Ireland. Ellen was proud of her Irish heritage and their vacations in Ireland were among her most favorite trips.
Ellen's nursing career spanned nearly 40 years, working at Baystate Medical Center, Cooley Dickinson Hospital and University Health Services at UMass, Amherst. Ellen also spent many wonderful summers working as a nurse for the New England Music Camp in Sidney, Maine.
Ellen will be remembered as a kind, compassionate person with a quick wit and a beautiful smile. She loved caring for others. Raising her children and working with college students were particularly fulfilling for her.
Ellen is survived by her loving husband David; her devoted children, Kevin Campbell and Grace Campbell Koch (Alexander); siblings Jimmy Real, Mary Kay LaCross (Larry) and Thomas Real (Elaine); niece and nephews, Kati Lambert, Alan Pinders and Jamison Real; and her many close cousins.
Visiting hours will be Tuesday December 19, 2023 from 3-6 P.M. at Beers & Story Funeral Home, 10 Maple Street Belchertown, MA. A mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 24 Jabish Street Belchertown, MA on Wednesday December 20, 2023 at 11 A.M. Friends and family may meet at the funeral home at 10 A.M. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Compassionate Care ALS, 17 Chase Road, Falmouth, MA 02540 (ccals.org) or Fisher Home, 1165 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002 (fisherhome.org).
Eulogy for Ellen Campbell, given by Mark Campbell, December 19, 2023
As often happens when someone provides thoughts regarding someone who has passed, there can be a tendency towards hyperbole. As many in this room know, what I am about to share regarding Ellen is anything but. We lost one of the greatest people I have ever known on Wednesday; my sister-in-law, Ellen Campbell. Her greatness was not in the powerful sense of that word, but was found in the way she made everyone feel special. She listened and empathized and brought a smile to every situation.
Her smile is something that will stick with me forever. I can’t remember any time being with her when she wasn’t smiling. From all accounts, that smile lasted through her final days. Her spirit was one of enduring resilience and unwavering optimism. Even when faced with the cruel hand of ALS, she never lost the twinkle in her Irish eyes. Ellen was a tapestry woven with threads of genuine kindness. Every word she spoke, every action she took, was laced with empathy and compassion. She had a knack for making everyone feel seen, heard, and loved. In fact, she epitomized her maiden name; Real. There was no more real person than Ellen. Part of her compassion shone through during her fight with ALS. She told everyone she didn’t want to be kept alive by extraordinary means. David knew this was not a choice for herself. She was giving one last gift to David and the kids so that they would not be burdened with her care indefinitely.
We can’t speak of Ellen without talking about her laughter. It was a symphony of joy, a contagious melody that could chase away the darkest of shadows. It was the sound of a life well-lived, a life filled with love and the simple pleasures, of shared meals and whispered stories. David described Ellen as a delicate flower and as easily as a flower would wave in the wind, Ellen could break into laughter and song. But she was also a flower with a strong stem. She would not be silent if someone treated her or her family wrong.
Today, we grieve, yes, but our tears are not of sorrow, but of gratitude. We are grateful for the light she brought into our lives, for the warmth of her smile, and for the echoes of her laughter that will forever dance in our hearts. So, let us not dwell on the darkness she faced, but on the light she ignited. Let us remember her not for what she lost, but for the love she gave and the joy she shared. She was a borrowed angel that heaven needed back.
On behalf of the Campbell family, I would like to send out a huge hug of gratitude and thanks to the amazing village that helped support Ellen since her diagnosis in May. To the meal train group and all the neighbors, family and friends who took care of dog walking, brought delicious meals, sent flowers gifts and cards, provided physical therapy, medical advice and comfort. Your generosity and support made a huge difference during this difficult time.
So, Sláinte, Ellen! May your journey be filled with music, laughter, and endless cups of tea. You will be dearly missed, but never forgotten.
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