Cover photo for Ellen Donnellan's Obituary
Ellen Donnellan Profile Photo

Ellen Donnellan

d. April 1, 2022

Ellen Donnellan



The beautiful, guiding light in our lives has been dimmed.


Ellen, who was called Eileen since she was a child, began her adventurous life in Mt. Kisco, New York, the fifth of six children by Margaret and Matthew Byrne Singleton. Her siblings, John (aka Red), Matthew (aka Ginker), Thomas (aka Butch), Margaret (aka Sister), and the baby, Joseph (Big Joe), remained extraordinarily close throughout their lifetimes, with frequent reunions growing to more than sixty immediate family members.


A competitive swimmer in her youth, she started her career as a pediatric nurse at the Foundling Hospital on Manhattan's Upper East Side. At a weekend getaway, at the picturesque Jug End Resort in the Berkshires, she met Robert "Bob" Donnellan. A beautiful romance turned to marriage, and they moved to Westchester, New York. While raising five rambunctious children, she continued as a nurse at Tarrytown and Mt. Kisco hospitals. When the kids were grown, she became a successful real estate agent.


Her spirit of always helping others before herself allowed her family to flourish. After Bob retired as an art director and Vice President at J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in New York City, Eileen and Bob relocated to Gloucester, Massachusetts, only a short walk to a sandy beach and the Atlantic Ocean.


Wanting to embrace her new community, she became a volunteer at the local hospital. Her love of discovery led her to traveling up and down New England pursuing one of her lifelong pleasures—searching for treasures at secondhand stores and thrift shops.


Her firstborn, Michael’s love of deep-sea diving has taken him to exotic turquoise waters around the world. Terence is a documentary filmmaker and television producer. Kathleen is a swimmer and triathlete who has raised millions of dollars for cancer research through Swim Across America. Erin is a graphic designer and painter. Our youngest, Martin, a gentle soul, died in a violent avalanche in 1987 when he was only twenty years old, skiing with some Aussie friends at Breckenridge Colorado. I guess it’s true: only the good die young.


Her husband, children, and many extended family members and friends survive Eileen. She took particular comfort and joy in her always lively and amusing sons-in-law, Dennis Tetreault and Mark Kroninger, and the exciting and fun lives of her grandchildren, Jacqueline and Riley Tetreault, and Wes and Cole Kroninger.


There will be a small private prayer service for family members at Knollwood Memorial Park in Canton, Massachusetts.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Swim Across America, which funds cancer research, clinical trials, and patient programs by hosting charity swims.

Online donations:

Checks may also be made out to "Swim Across America" and sent to:

Swim Across America - Boston

c/o Jamie Mannion PO Box 206 300 Broadway Libby

Revere, MA 02151

(Please print Ellen Donnellan in the memo line)

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