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Frances Ellen (Duff) Pickering, 78, of Alexandria, Virginia, and formerly of Peabody, died Saturday April 26 in Virginia following a brief illness. She was the devoted wife of the late Harlan D. Pickering.

Born in Dallas, Texas, she was the daughter of the late Dr. Paul H. Duff and Mrs. Frances Ellen (Fitzgerald) Duff. She was raised and educated in Peabody. After high school she attended Emerson College in Boston.

Upon her marriage to her husband in 1951, she moved to Fairfield, Ct, where they lived for 11 years. In 1962, she and her family settle in Alexandria, Virginia where they have lived for the past 46 years.

While living in Alexandria, Ellen gained recognition as an environmentalist and conservationist, and also was a onetime Councilwoman. She fought hard for many causes and her two most distinguish accomplishments were the stoppage of four, 20 story buildings which were to be built along the Potomac River, which is called Founder Park, and the creation of the Mount Vernon Trial which connects Alexandria with Washington D.C. which runs along the George Memorial Parkway. She also fought for many other causes and was a tireless leader in preserving open spaces and was dedicated to the city of Alexandria.

She is survived by her loving children, Frances Pickering, David Pickering and his wife Lyda, and Duff Pickering and his wife Katrine, her brothers, Dr. John Duff, Judge Brian Duff, Kevin Duff, Gerry Duff and Lt. Col. (ret.) USMC Brendan Duff and her sister Betty Murphy, her grandchildren, Caroline, Christopher, and Thomas. She was the mother of the late Paula Pickering.

Her funeral service will be held on Saturday at 9:00 AM from the Conway, Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home, 82 Lynn St., Peabody, followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:00 AM in St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Peabody to which relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held on Friday from 6:00 until 8:00 PM. Burial in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, West Roxbury.

Expressions of sympathy can be sent to The St. Anselm’s Abbey School, 4501 S. Dakota Ave, NE Washington, DC 20017 or the Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, 1524 Thirty Fifth St., NW Washington, DC, 20007.

For directions and on-line obituary, visit www.ccbfuneral.com

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