It is with a smile and a tear that I write this article. I can't think about Ellen Chard without remembering something she said or did to make me laugh or smile. She had a wonderful sense of humor and it served her very well.
Ellen was born on April 20, 1949 and passed away on August 24, 2007. She married Rod Chard in January of 1986. In addition to extended family and many, many friends, she left behind her husband, daughter Mercedes, stepson Mike and three grandchildren.
I first met Ellen when she and Rod joined the Mile High Chapter (MHC) when they arrived in Colorado. They moved from Seattle, Wash. in 1994 where they were active members of the Washington Council of the Blind. Washington's loss was definitely our gain. Rod and Ellen have been very active, contributing members of both the state and local chapters. Ellen served the chapter as secretary and treasurer. She was always ready to give assistance wherever it was needed. I was so lucky to have her support during my time as president of MHC. She was available for transportation and lent an ear and advice whenever they were requested. She had a way of making me laugh and see the positive of any situation. Ellen was always ready to volunteer for any job that needed to be done. She called herself "sucker," which earned her the nickname of "lollipop." We told her that she was such a sweet sucker and had a safety handle.
Ellen attended many national conventions with Rod. The two of them so graciously opened their suite for breakfast and lunch to ACB of Colorado (ACBCO) members attending the conventions during Rod's tenure as president of the state affiliate. Ellen volunteered her time and assistance on many tours. She willingly supported and shared her husband with the rest of us. Her loyalty and support during Rod's service as state president was unfailing. In fact, I remember times when she would even silently twist his arm a bit.
Rod and Ellen have walked through this battle of cancer for over two years. Ellen was ill for some time before she was actually diagnosed. She faced this battle just like she faced life, head on and with her sense of humor. She even named the tumors in her stomach. If you spent much time with her, you no doubt heard her say, "You do the best you can with what you got." Ellen had very, very long hair. As soon as she knew she would have chemotherapy, she had her hair cut and donated it to Locks of Love. That is just one example of doing something good with something she had. Rod said she told him, "You know, I was always vain about my hair." Even so, she shared it!
Ellen loved to play. She loved to break bread with her friends, loved music and plays. She enjoyed the social events she attended with ACB. In fact, she planned many of them. Rod and Ellen hosted at least two summer picnics for MHC in their backyard.
Family and friends gathered on Aug. 31 at the Goodson Recreation Center to celebrate her life and share laughter, love and tears with stories and many memories. Only her family can really know what a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother she was. However, I can tell you that I was so blessed to have had her as my friend. We will miss her very much in the days, weeks, months and years to come. A friend like Ellen is a treasure hard to find.
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