Avid artist, singer who loved books and the ocean

MELROSE — Ellen Rose O’Brien passed away peacefully on February 18 surrounded by her loving family after a 30 year battle with cancer. Ellen was born in 1988 in South Boston, a neighborhood that remained dear to her heart and she made sure to never miss an annual Saint Patrick’s Day breakfast or parade. She spent the majority of her life in Melrose where she was a dedicated member of the library community. She was a part of the Pope John XXIII High School Class of 2007 and the Anna Maria College class of 2011 where she majored in Art Therapy.

Ellen focused her career on fostering creativity in children. After college she started her own business, Ellen’s Creative Care, where she created an art curriculum for the children she babysat. She also facilitated birthday parties at Kidcasso Art Studio in Wakefield. She spent the majority of her career as a Visit Exhibit Interpreter at the Boston Children’s Museum. Ellen also took great pride in her volunteer work. After spending several summers at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Ellen returned as a volunteer at fundraising events to ensure other children could enjoy the experiences she loved. While volunteering at Marian Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Ellen became Dementia Care Certified so that she could take the best care of the elderly residents. She also enjoyed working at the Trinity Episcopal Thrift Shop after the pandemic. Finally, Ellen was a member of the Patient Advisory Council (PAC) at Elephants and Tea, a young adult cancer support group. Here, Ellen wrote for their magazine and spearheaded a new initiative currently in development. 

Ellen was known for her creativity outside of work, as well. An avid artist, singer and musical theater lover, Ellen infused her creative joy into everything she did. Her love of books made her an interesting conversationalist and left her with the quickest wit. She loved the ocean and spent time sailing antique schooners. She counted Ocean Point, ME as one of her favorite places and has asked that her family go there yearly to celebrate her memory. Ellen will be remembered as joyful, funny, strong-willed and resilient. She is survived by her mother Kate McKenney O’Brien; father Patrick O’Brien; sisters Catherine O’Brien and Sarah O’Brien; and extended family and friends of all ages.

Visitation will be held on Friday, February 23 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St., Melrose. A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Saturday, February 24 at 11 a.m. in Saint Mary’s Church, Herbert St., Melrose. Interment will be private. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to charities that were close to Ellen’s heart: Elephants and Tea at elephantsandtea.org or The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp at holeinthewallgang.org/get-involved/#donate. Visit gatelyfh.com.