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Ellen Marie Gillette 1957-2021

On Saturday, July 10, 2021, Ellen Marie Gillette passed away at home at the age of 64. Ellen was born on April 28, 1957 to Vincent Joseph Gillette and Mary Elizabeth Gillette (née Ryan) of Wolcott, Connecticut. She graduated from Wolcott High School and the University of Connecticut. Before retiring, Ellen worked in the Registrar’s Office at Eastern Connecticut State University. Ellen raised two children, Sarah and Ryan, with her former spouse, Stuart Popper.

Despite a decades long battle with cancer, Ellen loved life and lived it to the fullest. She had a passion for travel, wildlife, gardening and photography, and she frequently enjoyed doing all of these things in the company of her family and friends. Whether camping in Vermont with her group of friends from around Andover Lake, taking a lunchtime walk with her friends at Eastern, swimming with penguins in the Galapagos or photographing giraffes on the plains of the Serengeti, Ellen found beauty and fulfillment in the natural world around her. Every spring she made sure that her hummingbird feeders were full and ready for the ruby throated hummingbirds’ return on precisely May 1st. Every summer she grew a milkweed patch and helped to raise and release hundreds if not thousands of monarch butterflies over her lifetime. Ellen loved picking blueberries and apples to make her famous pies using her mother’s recipe for every family gathering. It did not matter whether the gathering was for a special occasion or no particular reason, for Ellen, being together was always reason enough to celebrate.

Ellen’s family would like to thank her incredible group of friends from around Andover Lake, Eastern and beyond who provided such amazing support to her over the years and especially during these last few difficult months. Their support in making meals, driving to appointments, making dump runs, and most important of all, providing companionship, was truly remarkable. In addition, Ellen’s family would like to thank the team of healthcare providers at Smilow Cancer Hospital for their care and guidance, especially Dr. Scott Gettinger.

Ellen was preceded in death by her parents, Mary and Joseph. She is survived by her siblings, Kathy, Marybeth and John Gillette, her daughter and son-in-law Sarah and Eric Becker, her grandson Clement, her son Ryan Popper and his fiancée Natalie Ecker, her granddog Cooper, her best friend Maureen Keith, and numerous beloved friends, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

On Saturday, July 31, 2021, there will be a visitation from 9:30am-10:30am followed by a funeral mass at 11:00am at the Church of the Holy Family in Hebron, Connecticut. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Smilow Cancer Hospital ( or the National Butterfly Center (

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Comfort to Sarah, Ryan , Clem, Stuart, Maureen, Ellen’s family and many dear friends. I met Ellen when we were 20. Our adult children are 2nd cousins. Living across the country, we only saw each other a few times in this last decade. I cherish the joyous times with Ellen and our families. May Ellen’s gentle spirit and radiance bring comfort to her family. Love and blessings from Barbara, David, Becca and Jonathan. ❤🌹🌺🌻🌷🌟🌈

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