Mrs. Anne Ellis

MRS. Anne Ellis, who died on December 1, was an extremely popular and highly respected member of the Strangford community. She was 92.

The second child and only daughter of Senan and Martha Sharvin, she was born in Strangford in 1920. She had an older brother, Jack, and two younger brothers, Jim and Brendan.

She went to the local school, where she excelled, and later to boarding school at Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle, where she developed her talent for singing. She had a beautiful soprano voice and took part in many Gilbert and Sullivan productions and other shows.

After Ballycastle she went to St Mary’s training college in Belfast during the early days of the Second World War and experienced the German blitz on the city. One of her first teaching jobs was in the old school in Dunsford which she would cycle to every day from Strangford, sweep the floor and light the fire before the pupils arrived.

She married her husband, Dennis, in 1943 and after the war the couple lived in London. After several years Mrs. Ellis became homesick for County Down and in the early 1950s the family returned to Strangford, where her husband joined the Sharvin Bros. firm and helped run the shop, and later the Cuan bar.

Mrs. Ellis’s real love was teaching. She adored young children and poured much love into them. She taught for a short time outside Portaferry, then at Ballyculter, and finally at Convent of Mercy Primary School in Downpatrick.

She taught children in the early years of their education. She was a brilliant teacher and especially talented at teaching reading. Her many past pupils would talk about how her lessons were always interesting and fun, and would remember her compassion and fairness.

Mrs. Ellis was distraught when she eventually retired in 1984. She missed her job and the children and it took her a long time to adjust to retirement. In her later years she was a familiar figure speeding around in her little Renault, shopping in Downpatrick and chatting to everybody.

Mrs. Ellis had a great interest in fashion. She loved clothes and shoes and always took a pride in her appearance. Latterly she kept her brain active by doing puzzles and crosswords. She was also well known for her generosity. She supported many charities and she never left a church without putting money in St Anthony’s poor box.

Sadly, her husband spent his final years in Ardview Nursing Home in Ardglass, suffering from senile dementia before he died.

Mrs. Ellis was intelligent, kind, compassionate, wise, funny, witty and generous to a fault. She will be sadly missed.

Requiem mass was concelebrated by Fr. Colm McGrady, P.P., and Canon Noel Conway, former Strangford P.P., in Stella Maris Church on Wednesday, December 5, and was followed by interment in St. Malachy’s Cemetery, Kilclief.

Mrs. Ellis is survived by her daughter, Denise, son-in-law Joe, grandsons Peter, Joe, Dennis and Jonathan, brother Brendan, sister-in-law Agnes and the family circle.