Ellen Barkenbush, of Chicago, IL, originally of Ridgewood, NJ, passed away at her home on 2/14/2019. Born at Valley Hospital on December 16, 1967, she attended Ridge Elementary School, George Washington Junior High School, and graduated from Ridgewood High School in 1996. She attended Mt. St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, MD where she earned a degree in Political Science in 1990. Her summers were spent lifeguarding at Graydon Pool, where she eventually became Assistant Manager of the lifeguard staff. Post-college, she began a lifelong career in fundraising and philanthropy, beginning at U.S. PIRG in Washington, D.C. She went on to work for diverse institutions such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Drew University, Yeshiva University, the Culinary Institute of America, KQED, and The Lyric Opera of Chicago. At the time of her death, she was working at Knox College in IL. From an early age, she showed an aptitude for art, sports, and music. Working in a variety of media, her drawings and sculptures were often admired. Among the musical instruments she played were the clarinet, bass clarinet, and most recently, the ukulele. Sports she participated in included softball, soccer, track, rugby, and hockey. A keen spectator as well as participant, she frequented art museums, concerts, and sporting events, enthusiastically singing the praises of her favorite artists, musicians, or teams. A true renaissance woman and bon vivant, she also enjoyed cooking, cocktails, and scouting out new or offbeat places to try them. With a keen mind for trivia, she was well-informed in all areas of pop culture, especially films and TV, and delighted in commiserating in person or online with those who shared her enthusiasm. One of her favorite events to attend was a viewing party for “The Amazing Race” which brought together just such an online community. She is survived by her brother, Jeb Barkenbush, her sister Linda Barkenbush, her sister-in-law Rose Barkenbush, her nieces Mia and Cara Barkenbush, her uncle, Mark Bowen, numerous cousins, and many, many friends. In lieu of flowers, donations in Ellen’s memory may be made to Children International or the Frick Collection.
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