Cover photo for Ellen B. Short's Obituary
Ellen B. Short Profile Photo
1941 Ellen 2024

Ellen B. Short

November 5, 1941 — May 22, 2024


Westford -  Ellen B. (Hill) Short a long time resident of Westford passed away on Wednesday, May 22, at the Lowell General Hospital. She was 82.

Born in Boston on November 5, 1941, she was a daughter of the late Durfee and Adeline (Valentine) Hill. An only child, her early years were spent with her family in Watertown, MA. She loved to recount life in old Watertown, when kids played outside until the street lights came on. Her tales included riding the street car all alone as a little girl to visit her beloved Scottish grandparents in Cambridge, MA, who were an important influence on her. Summers saw an annual two-week vacation to a rustic camp on North Pond in the Belgrade Lakes in Maine, a tradition that lasted 50 years and was enjoyed by four generations.

Ellen was formerly married to Col. Albert V. Short, US Army, Ret. and travelled extensively throughout the United States and the world during his military career, including Texas, Kentucky Kansas, Virginia and Okinawa, Japan. While stationed in the Far East, they travelled in Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, and mainland Japan. Ellen greatly enjoyed the exposure to different cultures both at home and abroad. 

After settling in Westford in 1983, Ellen obtained her GED and then graduated from Middlesex Community College with an Associate’s degree, earning a Regents Scholarship Award and admission to Phi Theta Kappa national honor society.  Ellen worked in the social services field for a few years, then as a nanny for several local families. Ellen enjoyed tending to her wildflower garden, reading, visiting museums and historic homes, and walks at the Stone Arch Bridge and the Acton Arboretum. With her daughter, she enjoyed trips to Scotland and England. For many years she also made an annual trip to California to visit the West Coast grandchildren.

Ellen was an animal lover. Donation requests to help sad donkeys and three-legged dogs always pulled at her heart and purse strings. Her most recent feline friend was her indoor cat Gidget, and her outdoor feral cat Bonnie, who despite her best efforts would not be domesticated. Possums and raccoons were also welcome on her back porch.

Survivors include her son and daughter in law, Douglas and Deana Short of Westford; her daughter and son in law, Audrey and Steve Vallen of Saratoga, CA; her grandchildren Benjamin Short and his wife Laura, Ryan W. Short, Miranda, Grace, and Eric Vallen; her great grandchildren Alexis Short and Jacob Short, and Taylor Short and Ryan D. Short.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Pat Brody Shelter for Cats.

It being her wish, funeral services will be private. Ellen’s ashes will be interred with her parents and grandparents in Cambridge Cemetery.


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