Grace Ellen Park nee Medicoff departed from her loved ones on December 31, 2021 after a brief struggle with cancer. Ellen was the beloved companion of Ross Park for 43 years, sister to Mark Medicoff (Marion Kery), special aunt to Zoe Medicoff, like a mother to Ross’s children Dr. Stephen Park (Claudia Becker) and Robin Taylor (Dennis Taylor), and grandmother to Anya Taylor.
Ellen’s first life as a teenager was spent sewing buttons and buttonholes on garments alongside her mother during summer breaks at their modest family business in Montreal. Her scholastic brilliance, impeccable drive and immeasurable intensity enabled her to attend McGill University on scholarships, achieving an undergraduate degree in applied physics, and an MBA in operations research, one of the very first at McGill to do so. In 1965, those academic fields were consistently dominated by men.
In Ellen’s second life, she was known as a ‘problem solver,’ a life-long ability that enabled her to succeed at the largest worldwide corporations. She accepted the most challenging and demanding roles they offered and rose through the ranks at Weyerhaeuser, General Electric, Honeywell, and Groupe Bull. Ellen broke barriers as a female pioneer contributor in the mainframe computer industry. She worked for years at a time in Tehran, Milan, Paris, Phoenix, and Mexico City. Ellen fully embraced the culture, the language, the arts, and the cuisine of every country where she lived.
Ellen’s third life began when she retired in 2001 to the mountains near Durango, Colorado where she skied, hiked, built her dream home, and planned a life of progressive activism. Ellen was loved and admired by so many for her tireless humanitarian activities. Together she and Ross championed affordable housing, women’s rights, and small community developments with the Shanta Foundation in rural Myanmar. Ellen focused on the crises for free and fair elections in her adopted United States through many positions she held, particularly in the League of Women Voters of La Plata County. And lastly, she and Ross contributed to the growth of their Buddhist Sangha at the Durango Dharma Center.
May her memory continue to inspire us all. Arrangements are entrusted to Ertel Funeral Home, Cortez, Colorado. To send condolences or to view the full obituary, log on to www.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section. Donations in Ellen’s memory are graciously accepted by the Shanta Foundation of Durango, shantafoundation.org, the League of Women Voters of La Plata County, lwvlaplata.clubexpress.com, and the Durango Dharma Center, durangodharmacenter.org.