Ellen Hawkes Little, the former Ellen Gowen Haight, died peacefully in Concord, N.H., on January 30, 2019, at the age of 93. Ellen was born on February 8, 1925, in Pelham, N.Y., to Colonel (Ret.) Charles Sidney Haight and Sidney Hood, an Army nurse.
She attended Connecticut College for Women and graduated in 1946 from Barnard College, where she majored in government. She married Laurence Curtis Hawkes of Seattle, Wash., in 1946 after graduation from Barnard, when Larry returned from his naval duty in the Pacific. The young couple lived in the Harrisburg, Penn., area where Larry began a career as an electrical engineer. They eventually moved to Danvers, Mass., where they raised their three daughters. Larry died tragically in 1955 of complications from pneumonia during the polio epidemic, and Ellen moved her family to Newtown to be near her parents. There, she commenced a long career in teaching. Simultaneously, she pursued her interest in alternative education by pursuing her own higher education through numerous night school classes and finally through a doctoral program at Columbia, where she earned her doctorate in education in 1972.
In 1973, she married Frederick G. Little of Rochester, N.Y., a childhood friend, and moved to Canandaigua, N.Y. Still devoted to teaching, she secured a job at Empire State College, part of the State University of New York, in Rochester, N.Y., where she taught from 1975 to 2002, when she moved to Havenwood Heritage Heights in Concord, N.H. Fred Little died in 1990.
Ellen remained remarkably active during her time at Havenwood Heritage Heights, including performing as a member of the Joyful Joeys clown troupe and leading discussions in the world concerns group. She was an avid reader of books and news all her life, and in her later years, she particularly enjoyed mystery novels. Additionally, she was a member at Grace Episcopal Church in Concord.
She was the pillar of her family and will be remembered for her courage and perseverance, her keen intellect and political savvy, her lively imagination, her tireless service to others, her selfless generosity, her deep affection for animals, and her abiding love of her family and friends.
Ellen was predeceased by her sister, Lois McNulty.
She is survived by her three daughters, Ellen G. “Wendy” Hawkes of Concord, N.H., Elizabeth H. deNiord and her husband, Chard deNiord, of Westminster West, Vt., and Margaret G. Hawkes and her husband, John, of Florence, Ore.; her grandchildren, Soren deNiord and his wife, Tobin, and their children, Fen and Wilder, of Portland, Maine, and Rayna deNiord and her husband, Martin Vopalka, and their son, Maceo, of San Francisco, Calif. Additionally, she is survived by numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Havenwood on Saturday, February 23, 2019, from 2 to 4 pm. She will be buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Havenwood Heritage Heights, Attn: President, 33 Christian Avenue, Concord NH 03301.
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