Please feel free to add your thoughts about Mary Ellen; a kind word, a fond memory, or whatever you choose to share.

Thank you,

Rick, Zoe, and Michael Mallett


Let me share one of the funniest Mary Ellen quotes that has often come to mind. One day we were comiserating ((but mostly laughing!) about the frustrations of trying to keep the house in order AND comings and goings of our teenage kids who were oblivious to the messes they left behind AND who took little initiative to pitch in and help (wah wah wah)....Well, this time, Mary Ellen's very special talent at painting a graphic image, just left me in stitches.... So, in true MEM fashion, out came, " YOU KNOW??! ...THERE COULD BE DEAD DOGS HANGING FROM THE CEILING AND THEY WOULDN'T EVEN NOTICE!!!!". I have never been able to shake that very peculiar image out my head...sort of like a very funny Herman cartoon. It makes me smile everytime as I can conjure up so easily the sound of her voice and her expressive face.  I have told
 hat story many times and never tire of it. That is the effect MEM had on you.


There is a story that I always loved to relive with Mary Ellen.  It happened when we were sharing a room in London, England, in 1969.  Well, it didn't just "happen" - she planned the entire thing just because she thought the end result would be hilarious.  And it was.  It's too long and involved to go into here.  If you ever want to hear it you'll have to buy me a drink in a place where they won't mind crazy people in the corner laughing and crying at the same time.  The bottom line is, Mary Ellen loved nothing better than making people laugh and I always felt a real sense of accomplishment when I could make her do that.  Other than her rightious indignation at bad editing it's what I'll miss the most.  I loved her so.

I have many fond memories Of Aunt Mary-Ellen,, I loved our Visits growing up

Having Thanksgiving,christmas and or Easter Dinner In Russell or at Her house...

After My Nan Maryellens mlother, Amy passed away, I think our visits Became fewer and fewer

But when we did reunite, All ws as we last kept and saw eachother and we never missed a beat,,,

I see MANY things in my mother that i see in Mare.


-Maryellen always had a quick wit sense of humor, that left you laughing for more

-that Amazing Hospitality That comes off so Naturally You feel like you were at Home

-So knowledgeable, from her endless life experiences from encountering  People, acquaintances and BFF's lol (best friends forever)

That she had endless stories I would hear through her, or my mother

A contagious laugh and smile that would light up even the grinchiest of grinches.


with that I'll leave my post and  blessings to Michael,,, Zoe, and UNCLE RICK,,,, I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! 

and a little poem i wrote right after I heard  She had left us....



Palmers Rapids and, Wolfe Lake'

hide and go seek on Walkley lane

When the "Goings" get tough, Memories void the grief

Of all of' the get togethers on Hopewell or Tweed

146 we both shared the same address,

you'll be in my dreams till my nostalgic last breath

RIP Aunt Mary Ellen xoxo

Your Nephew ---NathaN

Back in mid July, Mary Ellen and I were talking on the phone one day
and she was having a rough day at the time. Her eye was bothering her
a lot and because of it, she wasn’t sleeping very much and so
struggling with the lack of sleep as well as the pain.  Afterwards I
wrote her an email to try to cheer her up and sent along a picture I
had come across on the Internet of two old girls who had been friends
since 1967, almost as long as our friendship, and said they were kind
of like us, and I asked her to tell me which one she wanted to be.
See the photo attached.  She wrote back to me and said: “My Darling!
I love you dearly, as you know, but I’ll be damned if I’m being the
one in green!”  I laughed and wrote back and assured her I was happy
to be the woman in green and she could be the lady in the duffel coat.

My wife Bela and I used to visit Ottawa a lot when we were young marrieds living in Toronto, and that meant staying in Ottawa with my parents, who lived next to Mary Ellen and Rick for the best part of 25 years (I literally watched that orange Fiat rusting away to dust in their driveway over the years when I was growing up).  Of course, we occasionally sought refuge with Mary Ellen and Rick to escape my parents, and they were always welcoming and free with the wine when we came over.  One time in particular out on the porch, Rick was opening a bottle of wine and said "hmm, this may need to breath for a while".  Without missing a beat, Mary Ellen said "Pour it out - I'll breath for it".  Classic ME line.

Bela and I still often use that line today, probably 20 years later, and we still think of Mary Ellen when we do...  thank Mary Ellen...

The porch...what can I say...every visit in warm weather was spent
on the porch enjoying the breeze, a glass of wine, and great company!

She always called me ‘sweetie’ and ‘dear’ and ‘darling’ –it was

Positive thoughts…always with the positive thoughts (unless it
was hot outside!  Not her favourite to say the least! Even then
though, she was always joking about it)

Decorating magazines were much loved so I always knew how to amuse
her!  She had a great flair for interior decorating in her home.

She was an artist!!  She was extremely creative and left a huge gift
in her many drawings, photographs, and prints!

Very witty! She had an intelligent and irreverent sense of humour that
I loved.  It was self-deprecating, making light of recent treatments
which always put me at ease — she never shied away from talking about
her illness and made everyone around her comfortable; even when she
must have been uncomfortable herself. She always made me feel welcome.

She was Rick’s best friend, companion, and confidante.  They had an
incredible dynamic and a true love, the kind of love that lasts
forever.  She will never, ever be forgotten.


What a wonderful little tale and photos!  I am so happy that Mary Ellen was friends with so many witty, creative people.  I am certain that spending time with all of you helped her enjoy every single day.  Thank you for sharing and making me smile too.  


Remembering Mary Ellen, mostly in her own words.

I loved getting Mary Ellen’s emails – always bursting with personality and characteristic turns of
phrase.  And attached?  Cartoons, links to websites, photographs of friends and family – and more

Here are just a few of my favourite bits, from her emails.

June 11 2012:
G'day from blistering Ottawa - well, we're not quite there yet ...  we're only at a humidex of 38
at the moment. Rick's off hiking in New Hampshire mountains for a couple of days - I trust it's a
bit cooler up there. I'm going to sit in a tub full of ice cubes for the remaind.

(from the same email, describing their trip to Ireland)
Once one is off the major motorways the roads tend to deteriorate very rapidly... There's a
collapsed abbey or castle around every bend... the thoroughfares are littered with sheep. Rick did a
great job of driving - it's certainly not for the faint of heart. I spent most of the time w/ my
eyes covered and my mouth plastered in duct tape to prevent the screaming. I took some 1800+ photos
- bet you can't wait to see them!

April 2014 (with Rick away hiking)
Having never lived alone my whole life... I kind of get a kick out of wandering around the old
homestead on my own. I eat what I like, when I like: want a bowl of cereal at 4:10 p.m.? go ahead! I
blast my music at will: Paul Simon, Renee Fleming, Joe Cocker, Dvorak, Norah Jones, and a bit of
jazz to round it all out - and I dance and sing along if I so please. Want to watch 4 episodes of
some TV program on line, one after the other, right through dinner? - be my guest!

June 19 2014:
Here are a couple of quotes I've run across in the past week - thought you might enjoy: ME xo
“Do not remove a fly from your friend's forehead with a hatchet.”
“They call it celery because ‘cold, wet plant bones’ is too long.”
“Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.”

A year later – June 8 2015:
I've had a couple of really great days. The ability to sleep at night, and the straightening out of
pain and other meds has made a huge difference. Saturday, Rick was going kayaking at Britannia and
dropped me off in the lower Glebe and I wandered for a couple of hours - so nice to be out on my own
for a bit. The temp was 19, no humidity & gloriously sunny, w/ a soft breeze - my ideal! Spent a
bunch of money on myself: pants, two lovely blouses, and a drapey long vest in acid green - made me
very happy. Bought some groceries and walked as far as Lansdowne then decided to take the bus the
rest of the way. Neighbour John just gave me a bowl of tiny strawberries fresh from his garden -
absolutely delish.  Then I got set to start making a nice meal for dinner - I do miss cooking
(Rick's been doing most, and/or we order out).  Got all set up in the kitchen, put on iTunes and
cranked up a wonderful round of my opera greats full blast - marvellous!  Later, I called an old
friend in Waterloo (known her since I was 7) and we chatted for 1.5 hours straight - wonderful. Did
the same w/ my dear Barb in Edmonton last Thursday - another 1.5 hours on the phone ... worth every
minute of it.

Yesterday we had our NY Times x-word an added bonus, we had TWO weeks’ worth of puzzles
to do - having missed last week. Another friend dropped by w/ some eats & a hanging basket of purple
petunias.  Later Norah & I went to a friend’s art show - then back here to finish off yet another
x-word filled w/ puns & anagrams - can't be beat! Just a terrific day!

June 10 2015
The support from family and friends bolsters me in every way - and maybe this is where the concept
of courage comes from. For me at least, being courageous is not a solitary endeavour. Here's a
philosophical question: can we be courageous w/out being brave? Let's chew on that one.

As her illness progressed I received an email with the aside “fucking cancer” – not about her own
situation, but in response to the cancer of a friend.  And then the email in which she blamed
Stephen Harper because of a delay in my house sale – “I blame him for most bad things,” she wrote.

Subject lines of emails were so catchy: “Howdy!”  “Grammar myths” “A real funny bit!” “Home Again,
Home Again!” “Brain Fog” “Aussie lingo” “Chartreuse moose, indeed!”  “It’s me again!”  and my
favourite: “Rick and ME’s excellent adventure.”  Knowing and loving Mary Ellen was such an excellent
adventure – for so many of us.  I am so very grateful to have known her.



Bidding farewell to someone you have worked side by side with for 13 years
is not an easy thing. This should be an opportunity to be witty, and funny,
and entertaining, and lord knows we have a wealth of material to work with
if we choose to go that route. But when I sat down to think about this, I
felt neither witty, nor particularly funny. For me, as for many other people
in this room, Mary Ellen’s departure from CCA represents change of a new
magnitude. For all these years I have relied on Mary Ellen for a great many
things — I suppose I would like to think that we relied on each other. But
from my side I got friendship, lots of laughs, unblinking honesty, and
genuine kindness. I got intelligence, someone who could be counted on to
work hard, and to work smart, someone who could also be counted to work
sensitively and effectively with partners or Canadian members alike. I also
got insulted, have been called a variety of names, and have been groused at
and complained at on a regular basis. Oddly enough these are all of the
things that make life worthwhile.

Mary Ellen has been working on her crusty broad routine for as along
as I have known her — since she was far too young to get away with it,
frankly. But I don’t think anyone is fooled for very long. She once told me
that her goal in life was to be one of those outrageous older women who can
get away with saying absolutely anything. From my perspective, that is a
worthwhile and lofty ambition. That reminds me of a story that probably says
as much about Bala as it does about Mary Ellen.

An auditor needed to talk to someone about our regional development
education program and asked Bala who that would be. Bala looked very worried
and told this young person that she needed to talk to Mary Ellen. He also
told her that Mary Ellen has a tendency to be very cranky most of the
time. In fact, he said, Mary Ellen only has one or two agreeable days each
month, and never two together. Then, so I’ve been told, he paused for
effect, and said, with a worried expression, that Mary Ellen was happy

Of course Mary Ellen was completely charming. Which is the point I was
making earlier. I wouldn’t want to insult Mary Ellen by suggesting that
there is not bite behind her bark. She is tough and I really like that side
of her. But she is also very kind and very fair, and an original in every
sense of the word.

Mary Ellen has a few phrases that, over time, have become fraught with
meaning. One of those phrases is “he, or she is driving me crazy”. I know
that I reached that exalted status not long after Mary Ellen and I started
working together. I remember when Kim Rempel reached that important
milestone in her CCA career. She seemed a little surprised when I told her I
was happy for her.  And it was necessary to point out that until you drive
her crazy, Mary Ellen doesn’t really love you. The people that drive Mary
Ellen crazy include Rick, Zoe, Michael, Mr. Shanks, and others. You know who
you are. She has other choice phrases for people who really piss her off.

I know I have told this story before. Those of you who were here a couple of
weeks ago will recall Mary Ellen and David suggesting that I number certain
stories. That way I could save everyone a lot of time by simply calling out
a number. However, as attractive as that idea may be to some of you, I’m not
quite prepared to do that. Anyway, as many of you know, our old boss Milton
McKenzie, used to call Mary Ellen and me the siblings. Now it is possible
that he did not use this term in an entirely complimentary way. He may have
been refering, in part, to a certain low-level bickering that may have
characterized our relationship at the time. He may even have been refering
to the occasional high decibel discussion that Mary Ellen and I have been
known to enjoy. But regardless of how Milton intended this, I always took it
as a positive and accurate description of our relationship. In my
experience, a sibling is someone you are completely comfortable with —
comfortable enough to bicker with without the risk of hurt feelings or
misunderstanding. A sibling always tells you the truth - including truths
that you may not want to know, but really need to hear. And in my experience
a sibling is always there when you need them, whether that is digging in on
a particular work project, or, to use another of Mary Ellen’s own phrases,
as a great big giant ear, willing to listen to almost everything and offer
an honest and helpful response. Friends and co—workers come and go. A
sibling is there of you.

To be completely honest, I can’t imagine CCA without Mary Ellen. She has
been a wonderful constant in this place for much of my time here, and I will
miss her a lot. However, I can imagine Mary Ellen without CCA. And I have to
say it is a pretty happy vision. Mary Ellen is a creative person, and at
some basic level a free spirit. She has enjoyed, and at times endured, an
extended period of nine to five captivity, and l have no doubt that she will
thrive in whatever less-structured environment she chooses. I just want to
wish her the very, very best in whatever she chooses to do.

Mary Ellen — you have done your time and CCA is a better place for it. Good
luck and don't be a stranger.


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