Ellen S. Sheridan
Ellen S. Sheridan
  • December 11, 1930 - August 15, 2017
  • Concord, New Hampshire

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CONCORD-Ellen Wing Sisson Sheridan completed her last important task, leaving this world and her many efforts to make it better on August 15, 2017, at the age of 86. We sang her on her way.
Ellen was born December 11, 1930, in Potsdam, NY, second child of Irma Rutherford and George Wing Sisson and fourth generation in a large family of what she called "community gentry." She was exposed to world class musicians at an early age, due to family involvement with Potsdam's premier music school; she also started a lifelong love of nature with horseback rides and camping along the Saint Lawrence River.
She attended the Mary Burnham School of Northampton, Massachusetts, and graduated with honors and Phi Beta Kappa membership from Wellesley College. In 1953 she married Charlie Sheridan, challenging social norms of the day by joining her Presbyterian upbringing to an Irish Catholic family. Ellen bore four children and nursed her second child through a fatal illness. As a mother, she encouraged exploration, creativity, engagement with the arts, and reflection on the meaning of life and one's purpose in being here.
Ellen worked for 20 years as a professional pioneering public education and support services for those stricken with Alzheimer's disease. She was a lifelong crusader for social justice, active in promoting and advocating for child day care, mental health issues, peace action, social justice, church social action, LGBT rights and supports, women's issues, and elder rights and long term care issues. After retirement from the State Division of Health and Human Services, she chaired the NH State Committee on Aging, with emphasis on legislative advocacy. She was a member of South Congregational Church for 55 years and served a term as its president. She served on and chaired boards for many social welfare agencies in Concord over the years.
Ellen loved hiking in NH's woods and mountains, making her last hike over Lincoln, Haystack, and Lafayette when she was 79. She enjoyed travels to Europe, China, and Egypt, always seeking to learn deeply about the social and historical context of the places she visited. She bicycled all over the country and enjoyed rollerblading up until her 80th birthday. Stricken heavily by a stroke that damaged her ability to use language, she applied her intelligence and determination to overcoming that obstacle every day for the last 6 years of her life.
Ellen is survived by her husband, Charlie Sheridan; her children, Amy, Timothy, and Cornelia (Cosy) Sheridan, and her granddaughter, Emma Halter. She was predeceased by her son, Matthew Sheridan and by her brother, Andrew Sisson.
A service in Ellen's memory will be held at South Congregational Church, 27 Pleasant St. Concord, on Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations as "Tribute to Ellen Sheridan" to the Southern Poverty Law Center or to the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness.