Constance Eleanor Laing Greenhalgh-Kilty of Chatham died peacefully in her sleep on January 6th, midway through her 96th year of an eventful life. “Ellie” was born in Wellesley on April 22, 1923 and grew up during the great depression, raised by her mother Rena after her father passed away when she was 9. She moved to Chatham in 1947 and has lived the past 63 years in her current home. Ellie was predeceased by the father of her 4 children, Herbie in 2006 and by her second husband Jack Kilty in 2002.
Early on, her father nicknamed her “Wunk”, a name that stayed with her well into her 90’s through multiple vanity license plates. After attending 2 years of college at Lasell in Newton, she left school in 1944 to join an already active WWll as a member of the US Naval Women’s Reserves (WAVES). This took her cross country to San Francisco and then back again over the next 2 years until the end of the War. Once back in Wellesley, she rekindled a high school romance with Air Force Major Herbie Greenhalgh who had also recently returned from his bomber pilot duties of the War. Marriage was soon the result and the move to Chatham to help Herb’s dad run Chatham Crest, a Cottage Colony on Ridgevale Road. Later there were: 4 children, the duties of the Crest, Herbie returning to War in Korea, many happy years until the children were all raised and a divorce in the late 70’s. Ellie met Jack on the clam flats and they were married in 1991. She dedicated herself to be a Wife, a Mother, a Grandmother and a Great Grandmother.
Anyone who met Ellie knew her to be consistently caring, unassuming, staunchly family oriented and almost naively positive. She grew up in a privileged city under very controlled and proper principles from Rena which sheltered her from negativity. The divorce from Herbie launched another life for Ellie who until then had been very content and not overly independent. Forced into self-sufficiency, she started working in the Chatham Town Offices. She followed that with a short career as the Assistant Shellfish Warden. A position of authority comes with a need to enforce the rules and she quickly learned that kindness often needed to take a back seat to firmness. And yet, she referred to all of the shell fishermen as “hers” and there was a mutual respect, appreciation and friendship that developed because she was so human. But it was with her closest friends and relatives that she was so known for warmth and caring. To her family she was Gar, a name given to her by her Grandson Brian. Her family meant everything to her and Gar to them. Being close to Gar meant we are all better people and thankful for the time we had with her. She lived a humble life and passed along the same…..quietly and gracefully.
Ellie is survived by daughter Kim Wilson and husband Rich of Chicopee, son Todd Greenhalgh and his wife Charleen of Chatham and son Darr Greenhalgh (Pudge) and wife Kathy of Mooresville N.C.. She is predeceased by son David Greenhalgh of King George Va. She is also survived by her 2nd family of Jack’s 3 Daughters and 3 Son’s. Also, Grandchildren Casey, Brian, Brittany, Nikki, Kyle, Kelsey and Grant. And her dear Great Grandchild Jameson. Special survivor acknowledgement to loyal friend Paula Liska and lifelong friend Syl Mitchell of Georgia.
Ellie will be cremated and all are welcome to a memorial service at 3:00 PM on Saturday February 2nd at the Chatham VFW hall. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice. For online condolences, please visit www.nickersonfunerals.com