Ellen Mary Gilmartin (née Fields), 86, of Durham, NC passed away peacefully on Thursday morning, February 27, 2020 at UNC Hospital in the loving presence of her daughters. Ellen was born in Newark, NJ, daughter to the late Harry and Mary Fields (née Gilmartin) on April 7, 1933.
Ellen is survived by her three daughters Marion Morrison, MD (née Keckeissen) and husband Matthew of Raleigh, NC; Robin Conway (née Keckeissen) and husband Jeff of Chapel Hill, NC; and Diane Moore (née Keckeissen) and husband Vince of Durham, NC. She was a loving grandmother (“G-Ma”) to 9 grandchildren Katelyn Olson (née Morrison) and husband Timothy, Matthew Morrison, Ryan Conway, Patrick Conway, Mark Morrison, Mackenna Moore, Colleen Moore (deceased), Andrew Morrison, and Christopher Morrison.
She is predeceased by her mother Mary Gilmartin Fields; her brothers Eugene Hayes and Harvey Fields; her son Robert Allington Keckeissen; and her granddaughter Colleen Donovan Moore.
During her professional life, Ellen dedicated herself to the management of a thriving New Jersey law firm (The Law Offices of Roy H. Binder and Associates) until she moved to North Carolina in 1996. Throughout her life she enjoyed many hobbies including sewing, stained glass, and gardening, but above all, Ellen loved to dance. At a very early age, and through her Irish heritage, she was introduced to the jig and step dancing which inspired a lifelong interest in all forms of dance. She quickly became a highly sought-after ballroom dance partner, cultivating many lifelong friends who shared her passion. Ellen continued to dance her way into her senior years.
She eventually had to give up dancing due to the onset of atrial fibrillation, and to help others afflicted with the same condition, she created and until her death continued to lead an online “a fib” support group that is now recognized globally. In addition, after her move to North Carolina to be closer to her children, she remained very active in her community of Five Oaks in Durham, NC initiating multiple social events and activities that quickly became traditions, and her lasting influence has helped to shape the personality of the community she so loved.
The family will greet friends on Saturday, March 7, 2020 from 3-5pm at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, 1113 W. Main Street, Durham, NC 27701.
All are also welcome to attend and celebrate Ellen’s life on March 28, 2020 from 2-6pm at Five Oaks Club, 5109 Pine Cone Drive, Durham, NC 27707.
As we celebrate her life well lived, it was Ellen’s wish that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Me Fine Foundation in memory of her granddaughter, Colleen (318 Blackwell St, Suite 130, Durham, NC 27701 https://www.mefinefoundation.org/donate/)
There will be Dancing in Heaven Today
There will be dancing in heaven today
There was no pain, just a peaceful goodbye
as our precious loved one flew up to the heavens and into the sky
I can see her there standing with her beautiful wings
Surrounded by family, where everyone sings
So, there will be dancing in heaven today
She did not die, she just passed away
So, do not be sad for this isn’t the end
As we were promised, we will all meet again.
by Marilyn McKnight