Ellen Catherine Paterno (née Farmer) of Cutchogue passed away peacefully on Sept. 26, 2021, at Stony Brook University Hospital after a short illness. She was laid to rest beside her husband of 42 years, Michael, at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Southold on Sept. 30.
Ellen was born in Rockville Center Jan. 2, 1950. She grew up with her parents and four close siblings in Islip and graduated from Islip High School. She earned an associate degree at Suffolk County Community College and married Michael in 1971.
Family and work were of utmost importance to Ellen, and she poured her talent and energy into both. She and Michael shared parenting equally and created a secure and idyllic childhood for their three children. At the same time, she relentlessly climbed the ladder at Suffolk County Department of Social Services, from keypunch operator to systems administrator. In the early ’90s, while parenting and working full time, she earned her bachelor’s degree with honors from Dowling.
Ellen’s devotion to those she loved was legendary. She selflessly cared for sick family members and generously gave of her time to those in need. She retired from the county when her first granddaughter was born in order to take care of her, and later her grandson, while their parents worked.
Although serious and duty-bound by nature, Ellen was equally fervent about fun. She organized countless outings and trips and happily indulged in the games and shenanigans of family reunions.
In the last 20 years, she became a fixture on the North Fork. She acted as secretary for the Nassau Point Property Owners Association and participated in various community and charity events and protests, making many friends along the way. An avid swimmer, she became a familiar sight at the Nassau Point causeway and Indian Neck, recognizable by the pink hat she always wore.
She is survived by her siblings, Paul and Monica; her children, Jessica, Michael John and Steven; and her grandchildren, Holly, Michael Arnold, Thomas and Bradley. She will be forever loved and missed.
Coster-Heppner Funeral Home in Cutchogue assisted the family.
This is a paid notice.