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In Memoriam: Ellie Carren

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December 21, 2022

Ellie Carren, the Westchester Trails Association’s one hundred-year-old “Energizer Bunny,” died peacefully at her home on December 7th, with her daughter Claire at her side. It goes without saying that we will miss her vibrant presence, but we take comfort in knowing that Ellie was truly the epitome of a life well lived.
Born in Brooklyn on April 22, 1922 (now known as Earth Day), Ellie triumphed over a difficult childhood and the early deaths of her husband and son, working as a nurse while raising her daughter. In 1962 she moved to a co-op in Irvington and she lived there till the day she passed. She was a tireless advocate involved in multiple causes, and that held true for her contributions to WTA: since joining the club in 1969, she served as chair of the hospitality committee for over two decades, was a prolific hike leader well into her late 90’s, served the club in many other capacities, and received a well-deserved award of life membership – an honor given to those who are 65 years and over, have been WTA members for at least 25 years, and have devoted 10 years or more of extraordinary service to the club.
Ellie was known for her boundless energy and quest for knowledge. Often on hikes she would invite people, many of whom were decades younger, to accompany her afterwards to a concert, lecture or movie (and some of them were too tired to take her up on it). She hiked, cross-country skied, played tennis, practiced yoga, went folk dancing, engaged in political activism, and much, much more. Inrecognition of her community service, she was inducted into Westchester County’s Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in 2016.
Around the time of her 99th birthday Ellie’s daughter Claire asked friends and family for their favorite stories and photos of her mom, which were compiled in a journal called “The Ellie Times” (if you would like a copy, contact Alicia Leibowitz at alicia@dottedi.org) The observations from her hiker friends can be summed up by one entry, which said that Ellie was “known for carrying everything one could possibly need, dressing in matching clothing, looking elegant, and talking throughout thehike.” Not only did her huge pack contain items like food, water, first aid and extra clothing for herself and other hikers, but according to the journal entries she once pulled a nail polish bottle from her pack to mark trees that were sparsely blazed; and another time, when a bunk room lamp went dark, she found a new bulb in her pack to light the room! As Claire described her mother in an Ellie Times tribute, “Her philosophy on life is that each daycounts, and to make the most of each day. She is certainly doing that.”
There will be a memorial service for Ellie on a date to be determined and a hike in her memory will take place on January 8th. Rest in peace, dear friend.

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