Ellen M. Esser
The Madison Public Library recently received a gift from the Estate of Ellen M. Esser. Ellen specified in her will that this bequest is to be used for the purchase of children’s books. Thus, we are pleased to announce that this gift will be used to refresh the children’s collection at the all-new Central Library.
By John M. McDermott
Ellen M. Esser lived her entire life in Madison, graduating from East High School and Edgewood College. She was employed by Dane County, and especially enjoyed her part time position as a report typist for the Madison Police Department.
Ellen was a charter member of the Charles Schulz (“Peanuts”) Memorial Museum and also a member of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. After her diagnosis, she devoted much of her time educating others about the disease. Ellen was a dedicated advocate for ovarian cancer research, funding, legislative support and the utilization of gynecological oncologists. Without diminishing the gravity of breast cancer, she sought equal recognition for victims of ovarian cancer. Ellen was part of an international ovarian cancer support group on the Internet.
Ellen was never married, but had a close circle of friends about whom she cared greatly. She had a subtle and quick sense of humor. Quiet and unassuming, she gave, often anonymously, of her time and resources to worthy causes and to those less fortunate than she.
Her closest relatives were an aunt and three cousins. She had a special bond with a Shih Tzu named Maille, spoiling her with treats and toys. Their mutual affection continued to Ellen’s final days.
While Ellen never specified why her bequest to the Madison Public Library was earmarked for the purchase of children’s books, this was consistent with her zeal for education and understanding of the importance of reading, influenced by her mother’s working at an elementary school for many years.
Ellen spent the last nine months of her life at a hospice care facility, where she became loved and admired by those who got to know her. She lived her last days with the faith, dignity and sense of humor she always possessed, fully aware of the reality of her disease.