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Ellen Harriet Thomsen Weiss

Saturday, June 21, 2014
Lebanon, N.H. — Ellen Harriet Thomsen Weiss died on June 12, 2014. She died peacefully in her sleep at Harvest Hill in Lebanon. She slipped away in the night as she do.

Ellen was born on March 26, 1920, in Hartford, Conn., the oldest child of Eleanor Wood Thomsen and Raymond Thomsen. When she was 12, her family moved to her grandparent’s farm, Brushwood, in New Canaan, Conn. In 1937, she represented Connecticut at the International Girl Scout and Girl Guide Encampment for the Silver Jubilee of Girl Scouting, the last international gathering of girl scouts before World War II. She earned her BA from Smith College in 1941. In 1943 she enlisted in the Woman’s Army Corp and served in Georgia, Texas and Iowa; receiving her commission as a Second Lieutenant in 1945. After her Discharge, Ellen earned her MA in American History from Columbia University in 1947, and then studied at Oxford University.

In May 1950, Ellen married Kenneth E. Weiss. In 1951, she moved back to Brushwood with her husband and infant daughter. She had three children, Eleanor (1951) Frederick (Fritz) (1952) and Katherine (Kate) (1955). Ellen and Ken divorced in 1960. Ellen taught in the New Canaan Public Schools from 1960 to 1985. After her retirement, she moved to Northampton, Mass. In 1989, she moved to Monteverde Costa Rica where she worked as the Director of the Monteverde Friends School. Ellen moved to Lebanon in 1996. She moved into the Harvest Hill Community in 2007.

Ellen made lifelong friends. She continued to correspond with friends from the Silver Jubilee, from Smith College, from the Army, from her teaching career and from her retirement throughout her life. She wrote every day as long as she was able. She wrote journals; poetry, letters; and a remarkable collection of books of historical research about the family. Her poetry was collected and published in 2010.

Ellen cared deeply about her family. Her memories of Brushwood and the four generations of family who lived on the farm became the glue which held the extended family together. Her final project was a collection of “Memories from Brushwood” completed in her 93rd year. She advises us all to always “Write it down;” and to always “Keep in touch!”

Ellen felt very fortunate to spend her final years at Harvest Hill. She found a new community of close friends, and a wonderful and caring staff during her years there.

Ellen’s two sisters, Margaret Poffenberger (Brookfield, Vt. and Lebanon) and Frances Nye (Norwich, Vt.) both died in the past year. She is survived by her youngest sister, Linda Terriberry of Danville, Va.; her brother, Walter Thomsen of Texas; daughter, Ellie and her partner, George Carvill of Milford, N.H. and their children and grandchildren, Evin Carvill-Ziemer and her partner, Melissa Ziemer and their son, Rylan, Anna Carvill, and Seth Carvill; son, Fritz Weiss his wife, Paula Rossvall of Sharon, Vt. and their children, Ingrid Weiss and Conor Weiss; and daughter, Kate Weiss of Bozeman, Mont. and her children, Thomas Weiss-Lehman, his partner, Kate Silver-Heilman and Christopher Weiss-Lehman; and numerous nephews, and nieces.

Memorial Services will be held on Tuesday, July 1 at 2 p.m. in the Garden Room at Harvest Hill, and on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Hanover Friends (Quaker) Meetinghouse.

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