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1931 Eleanor 2020

Eleanor A. Conway

March 21, 1931 — August 30, 2020

Eleanor “Ellie” Anne (Kett) Conway, 89, died in her Fort Lauderdale, Florida home surrounded by family on August 30, 2020 from non COVID-19 chronic illness. Ellie was born 1931 in Cambridge, MA and raised in Waban within the city of Newton. She was a thoroughbred horse racing fan who hit her most rewarding trifecta payoff on a daily basis -- in her immeasurable capacity to love; her belief in transforming adversity; and her outsized influence on her family in modeling love, forgiveness, compassion, commitment, and strength. Ellie graduated from Newton High School and the Katharine Gibbs School of Boston preparing her for the modern business office. She worked across Boston, initially as secretary to James B. Hurst, Associate Secretary of YMCA of Massachusetts and YMCA World Services during its post-WWII transition when families became the new emphasis; in 1952, as secretary at actuarial firm Connell Price & Co.; Ellie’s initiation to the stock market came as a chartist for the Weston W. Adams Co. where her bosses, Mr. Adams, Sr., former Pres. NHL’s Boston Bruins and Suffolk Downs horse racing official, and Howard “Howie” W. Burns, cemented her enthusiasm for professional sports and the stock market. After marrying William “Bill” Conway, Sr., her beloved spouse of 60 years, they relocated to the warmer climate of Fort Lauderdale in 1956. There she developed her signature style – colorful Hawaiian prints from Pualani Mossman Avon’s iconic shop--Pualani’s Hawaiian Hut, and big hairdos that showcased her sun bleached “natural blonde” hair. Ellie’s interests over the decades included: raising six kids, flying a Piper Cub, selling real estate, joining Women in Broadcasting, oil painting, competing in tennis leagues with daughter Denise, the Miami Dolphins, son John’s prime rib roasts, horse racing outings with Bill followed by a sidecar cocktail, and numerology. She visited Europe in 1951 with travel companion Aunty Florence which included the Festival of Britain showcasing its extraordinary WWII recovery, and thereafter loved to travel. Ellie annually organized the Quota Club’s much anticipated Signing Santa Party for hearing impaired/deaf students and many Kiwanis Club of Wilton Manors’ service projects. Her charitable spirit connected her heart-to-heart with people. Ellie and Bill relished nature and created a backyard bird and butterfly habitat and welcomed the arrival of a gray fox family. Ellie’s most admired person of her youth was her mother, whose constant love never faltered, despite routinely being tried by irrepressible sons. Her most admired public person was President Kennedy for his intelligence, inspiring a new generation to serve America by establishing the Peace Corps, and willingness to work with people of diverse backgrounds. Although she gave up on playing the piano, preferring street and ice hockey with her brothers and snow skiing with pals Marilyn, Bobsey, and Lee, she was always drawn to music. Her eclectic taste ran from Glenn Miller, Herb Albert, Ramsey Lewis, Barbara Streisand to music introduced by her 1970s-era teenagers like Chicago, Marvin Gaye, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Something was always playing on her Florida Room’s “hi-fi,” enlivening daily life. Ellie had an insatiable curiosity for world affairs as a voracious reader of newspapers, romance and suspense novels. But her most prized literary works were the handwritten letters and homemade cards from her young children, later written by homesick college students, happy backpackers reporting in from youth hostels, soldier deployed to a triple canopy jungle, and proud parents sending photos. She treasured them all. She is survived by sons Bill Jr. and John Conway; daughters: Lissa Flowers (Jim), Denise Naylor (Lew), Jamie Conway, and Katie Ballbé (Carlos) of Ft. Lauderdale; brothers: Richard David Kett (Jane) of Wellesley and Philip D. Kett of Waban; sisters-in-law: Patricia A. (Carroll) Conway (late Jack) of Marshfield, Elizabeth A. (Conway) Grozier (late Jimmy) of Falmouth, Jane R. (Henzel) Kett, and Suzanne (K’Burg) Kett (late Walter) of Hudson, MA, ten grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, beloved relatives. Ellie was predeceased by spouse William C. Conway, Sr.; parents, Walter Dennis Kett and Bertha Agnes (Martineau) Kett of Waban; brother, Walter Stephen Kett (Suzanne); in-laws, Dr. William & Carol (Conway) Kermond of Winchester and Edward Conway of Ipswich; aunts: Florence Josephine Martineau of Allston, MA and Mary Clare Martineau Poehlman (Everett) of Goffstown, NH, Great-Aunt Bertha Mary Martineau Morrison (John) of London, U.K. who thrilled Ellie with tales of their 1903 Grand National winner Drumcree whose horse hide was ceremonially displayed during parties. Private family service was held at St. John the Baptist Church with internment at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Fort Lauderdale. Memorial donations can be made to Catholic Charities USA www.catholiccharitiesusa.org or Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Education Fund, designated: Fines and Fees Program, providing Floridians having completed their incarceration and probation, restoration of their voting rights https://wegotthevote.org/finesandfees/ Ellie infused in all her abundant energy, kindness, warmth, and dignity.
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