Eleanor (Ellie) Mary Garten

Eleanor (Ellie) Mary Garten passed away on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at age 84 in Fairfax, VA. She was surrounded by her beloved children, grandchildren, and close friends. She was predeceased by her loving husband of 48 years Paul Gilbert, son Paul Joseph, parents Mary (Mamie) and Joseph (Gus) Phinney, and brother John Francis Phinney.

She is survived by her children Paula, Matthew, and Jane, son-in-law David Bracken, grandchildren Maeve, Emma, Patrick, and Rory Bracken, brothers Joseph and Richard Phinney and sisters-in-law Anne, Elizabeth (Betty) and Eileen Phinney, and numerous nieces and nephews, as well as many cherished friends in the Greenspring community.

After growing up in Boston, Massachusetts and spending many years there, she moved south to Virginia in 2010 be closer to her children and grandchildren, though she remained a Boston girl through and through. She was a diehard Red Sox and Patriots fan. Ellie’s family was the highlight of her life – you’d often find her on the sidelines at her grandchildren’s games, in the kitchen whipping up one of her signature dishes or regaling the table with a wickedly funny story, glass of Bailey’s Irish cream in hand.

Ellie had an infectious laugh and easygoing nature. For Ellie, family was everything. She loved spending time with them and was so incredibly proud of her four grandchildren.

She was a wonderful mother, doting grandmother, faithful sister and loyal friend.

Ellie sparked joy in all those she crossed paths with. Her laugh was infectious, her smile never wavered, and the twinkle never left her eye. She lit up every room she walked into.

She’d give you the shirt off her back and the food off her plate.

She had a heart of solid gold and led a rich, vibrant life. Ever the adventurer, she traveled extensively, eager to see the world, and she never met a horizon she didn’t want to broaden. We lost the heart and soul of our family. She was an angel on earth and now she’s an angel in heaven. She shined so bright that now the world seems so dark, but she’ll always be our ray of sunshine.

A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, February 22nd at 11 am at St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church in Springfield, VA

 Memorial contributions may be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html


8 Responses to Eleanor (Ellie) Mary Garten

  1. David C Garten says:

    Aunt Ellie was and always will be one of my favorite people. This obituary perfectly sums up her beautiful life. Her light, love, and laugh will live in my heart always. Sending lots of love to Jane, Paula, Matt, Dave, Maeve, Emma, Patrick, and Rory. We were all blessed to have had her in our lives and she is back in Uncle Paul’s loving embrace. XO Cousin David

  2. Jenny Kaye says:

    We shared Christmas cards every year!!

  3. Matt says:

    David, thanks. Ellie was the kind of lady whose smile and friendliness touched a lot of people. 2 ladies from Greenspings stopped by, they were shocked (get in line ladies) to mention how she was always smiling and friendly.
    She’s a class act. Reunited with my Pop, her brother Jocko and her G&T buddy Pat.
    She’s gone from here but lives forever in my heart, which is breaking right now

  4. Jay Phinney says:

    Ellie was my Dad’s sister and I remember the respect he held for her. He admired her courage and resolute nature. There was no quit in Aunt Ellie. A real Phinney girl! When I close my eyes I picture her face, weathered by so many cruel New England seasons, gazing proudly across the expanse of her amazing family, gently smiling with contentment and the pride of a lioness. Yes Ellie, you gave us all your full measure as naturally and gracefully as you walked this earth. You were the real deal, one of the old guard and we will miss you terribly. We are only comforted by the knowledge that you are flanked by your two Marines and being hugged and kissed by the grande dame herself, Mamie, her loving husband Gus, and other family members too numerous to count. Rally all our heavenly angels to guide us through the dark days ahead as we mourn your passing.

  5. Monique MacEachin says:

    Sincere sympathies to Jane and family. Moms live in a special place in their children’s hearts. That’s why mothers will continue to live on even after they pass on. I’m glad I got to meet her; I’ll always remember her laughter and thoughtfulness. -Monique MacEachin

  6. Gray Parks says:

    Ellie and I came to Greenspring about the same time and we were next door neighbors, separated by a stairwell. I enjoyed our friendship and always looked forward to chats with her. I am greatly saddened at her passing. My love and prayers to the family.
    Gray Parks
    PV -G01

  7. Eileen Cantrell says:

    Paula, Matt & Jane – My heart goes out to all of you on the passing of your Mom. She was such a wonderful part of our large Garten family. She was head of the class in hospitality and chocolate chip cookie making; and, oh, how I marveled at her sewing abilities! I have such fond memories of all the great times we shared with both your Mom & Dad. It didn’t matter if we were in Lynchburg, Vienna, Lexington or the Cape – we always had fun!

    Love to all of you – Cousin Eileen

  8. Stephanie Zmolek Mickler says:

    I met Ellie through Jane at a Navy Federal event as a volunteer…we were at a game and when introduced she suddenly became “Jellie”. We hit it off right away and always had fun! Such a beautiful spirit…she was so easy to love❤️. The world needs more like “Jellie”.

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