Ellen Haven (1949–2015)

Ellen Haven, 65, of Garrison, died peacefully on April 1, 2015, after a long illness. To the end of her days, almost incomprehensibly, she never allowed the maladies inflicted upon her to interfere with her cheery disposition, and she remained fun to be with, and possessed great generosity of spirit throughout.

Ellen Haven

Ellen Haven

Ellen was born in Peekskill on July 24, 1949, and grew up in the Hudson Valley, ultimately settling there with husband John, son Darius, and a virtual menagerie of pets after spending many wonderful years in New York City. Ellen loved the environment, whether it be wild, cultivated or urban, and had an affinity for both the land and the water, whether river or sea. She was an ardent gardener, naturalist and lover of all creatures great and small, especially her dogs. She had a lifelong passion for the arts, specifically visual art, and spent most of her professional life working in the arts community in Westchester and Putnam counties, both as administrator and artist, in her very last position serving as the chair of the Board of the Garrison Arts Center.

In both her work and her personal relationships, Ellen shall be remembered for her unpretentious wisdom and quick wit, unflagging kindness and invariable good humor. She had an ability to find common ground in people — in their thinking, in the work toward which they could contribute their different talents, and in the shared interests to which each could add a perspective. Ellen was a person whose visit always left others feeling just a little bit better than before. Needless to say, her constituency in the not-for-profit community was extremely well served by these attributes. The great joy she experienced in her art became striking in her last few years, when, while undergoing the most intense medical treatments, she became the most prolific in her abstract creations, so much so that others around her were often drawn into her enthusiasm in the context of their own creative efforts.

She leaves behind great memories and smiles with all that she knew. She was predeceased by her parents, Elliott W. Schryver and Alice Stinnett Schryver. She is survived by her husband of many years, John Grimmer, their son Darius Hartwell, and two grandchildren, Isaiah and Delilah Hartwell, all of Portland, Oregon, and her sister, Ann Temple, and nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, all from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ellen was buried in the Cold Spring Cemetery in a private ceremony. A larger celebration of her life will follow in mid-June and will occur on the banks of the Hudson River at Garrison’s Landing in the shadow of the Garrison Arts Center and Bear Mountain. In recognition of Ellen’s belief that the act of charity should be a very personal choice, anyone wishing to remember her is requested to make a donation in her name to their own favorite charity. We, Ellen’s family, greatly mourn her loss. We know that that sentiment is shared by friends near and far.


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2 thoughts on “Ellen Haven (1949–2015)

  1. I’m so very sorry and send my sympathies to Ellen’s family. I admired and appreciated Ellen’s years of hard work on behalf of the arts in Putnam County: she made a difference for so many local arts organizations and for individual writers, dancers, musicians, actors, and visual artists.