Mirror notes passing of key editor
... Ella Letterie wrote, photographed, edited, innovated
from the SilverStringers
Remembering Ella ... a friend and colleague
I remember Ella in many ways but a special few come to mind right now.
Any time Donna and I were going to a movie we called Ella to join us. She would not go to anything frivilous, but she enjoyed serious more true to life movies. Things like "The Queen" and "American Gangster." We called these "Ella movies". We usually brought popcorn from home and as we sat and put ourselves into the movies we munched on popcorn and thought about where we would go for lunch. She was good company and good to be with.
Another thing that comes to mind is when she invited Donna and me to her home to bake biscotti. She was a great teacher. As Donna and Ella moved the dough around, mixed and baked I took pictures of their hands at work. You can read this article if you click here. You can also get Ella's great recipe.
We will miss her.
Writer Shirley Rabb
Remembering Ella ... quietly capable and courageous
There are two things that I will always remember about Ella Letterie. First, when Ella joined us some ten years ago, she had already gone through at least one serious operation and perhaps more. We never really knew because she rarely complained. Over the ensuing years, it was evident that she was suffering from one ailment or another with quiet courage and a continued commitment to editing and publishing.
In addition, Ella was a lot smarter and more savvy in the world of computers and photography than she portrayed. When the SilverStringers became aware of a new program - like Mozilla Firefox for example - we would later find out that Ella had it already installed and in operation. This also carried over to the field of photography, a field where Ella also seemed to be ahead of the curve.
I enjoyed Ella and will surely miss her.
Editor Jim Driscoll
I remember Ella ... a friend lost
In 2004 Ella Letterie happily upgraded her computer service from dial-up to Comcast cable service. She asked if I could give her some help in setting up her PC. I was glad to go to her house a few times to help her over the hump.
It was about this time that my wife and I put our beloved house in Melrose on the market and also bought a house in Wakefield, only three miles away. Unfortunately we had to pass papers on our Melrose house in June, but couldn't occupy the Wakefield house until August, leaving us a two month gap with no place to live.
Here is where Ella came in. We chatted about our problem while I was helping her, and she said, "Why don't you two stay here in my house for a couple of months? I've got all these rooms and you can make yourself at home in privacy as long as you need."
Shirley and I were blown away by this unexpected and generous offer. We came over later and explored the possibility. As it turned out, we had an opportunity to rent a condo on the beach in Lynn, through a friend, so we thanked Ella for the kind offer.
Ella was this kind of person, generous, bright, and tough. She was anxious to explore and learn new paths. She learned how to create the Previous Issues section entries, and took on much of the job filling out all those old front pages that extend back to 1999.
While fighting her personal battles with health, Ella continued to be a major contributor to the Melrose Mirror, not only in articles but also in the technical details that aren't seen by readers and make the journal better. Who will replace her?
Editor John Averell
Our Ella ... a matter of dedication
In our midst, we had a saint
who lived her life without complaint.
Ella Letterie, editor and friend
fought poor health until the end.
As one editor, with her dedication,
made our Mirror a top publication.
Editor Russ Priestley
Remembering Ella ... so many memories
When she joined SilverStringers, Ella Letterie became a friend, writer, editor, publisher of the Melrose Mirror, and fellow traveler.
As a friend she could always be counted on for advice about the computer, a ride when you needed one, and being there to help plan and set up anniversary, open house, or other occasion parties.
She wrote many articles for the Melrose Mirror about her family memories, cooking and traveling. She put in articles that others had written in longhand or typed, especially Jim Tierney's travel stories. She edited others' work without fanfare and never missed a "publish" day.
But most of all, when I think of Ella I think of the trip that she, Don, Russ and I, along with Alex Stouffs from MIT, took to the Town of Ennis, Ireland in 2001. We enjoyed meeting all the different groups of people, senior citizens, grammar school and high school groups, and travellers, to encourage and show them what we had accomplished with the aid of MIT and software called Pluto.
It wasn't all work as (hosts) Elaine and Fiona took us around to visit many of the sites, including Bunratty Castle for dinner, lunch at a castle (I forget which one), and the night they tried to teach us set dancing (we were a disaster, but it was great fun watching).
These are some of the memories I have of Ella and I miss her.
Editor Kay McCarte
Coffee and comfort ... chicken soup for the soul
Ella was a new friend but a good one. I met her at a meeting of the Silver Stringers when I first moved to Melrose. We shared many cups of coffee at her house when she wasn't feeling well enough to go out. I would bring a can of Progresso chicken soup(the modern version of the friendly neighbor bearing food.)
We would spend the day talking about books and movies and all the things Melrose has to offer that I haven't discovered yet. I will miss her.
Editor Louise Fennell
Ella's passing ... a major loss for Stringers
This has not been a good year for the SilverStringers. Losing Ella was the fifth member to pass on, in 2007. We also lost Editor Jini Hanley and writers Marie Mooreland, Marjorie Carter and Freeman Frank.
Our spirit sags and there is a major detour on our road to publishing the Mirror..
Ella's passing is particularly poignant, for she was one of the gifted ones who took to computers, to the codes and sequences, right from the beginning. For some ten years now she has been working behind the scenes, aiding in the continuing development of our software program, MIT's "Pluto".
By her own choice, her continuing contribution was to do much of the "grunt work" that was technically beyond most of us.
Her passing leaves a major void in the ranks of Stringer board of editors -- both in the technical expertise she provided, but even more important, in her upbeat attitude. Our hearts are broken.
Editor Don Norris
Remembering Ella ... especially on Wednesdays
It's Wednesday and I have to remind myself that Ella will not be stopping by the Stringer meeting today. Actually, she hasn't been coming for a while due to failing health, but I kept expecting her to pop in laughing and bragging about how you can't keep a good woman down. Her death surprised me more than it should have.
Ella had a gruff exterior and was not tolerant of fools. She also had a big heart and was quick to lend a hand to friends and family. I loved her hearty laugh and her pride in her Italian heritage.
Ella was a quick study. A few years ago, she bought a new digital camera. She soon agreed to take pictures at a Center function. She surprised me by not only taking fine pictures, but by having learned to burn the pictures onto a CD which she handed me the following morning!
I'll miss her, especially on Wednesdays.
Jack Beckley, director, Melrose Council on Aging
Remembering Ella ... she spoke her mind
On the months when Ella Letterie was publisher of the Melrose Mirror she got the job done with little fanfare and lots of efficiency. That's not to suggest Ella was one of those quiet operatives. When she had something to say, she spoke her mind. And everyone listened, because, in a word, she was smart. One of my last times with her was at MIT, standing and talking with Prof. Tod Machover, a world-renowned composer. They were animatedly discussing programming. I didn't understand a word of it.
Jack Driscoll, advisor to the SilverStringers
Remembering Ella ... "Ohmygod, and she would chuckle to herself"
The first thing that occured to me was that, although I'd known her for close to two years, I had never seen her any other place than at our meetings at the Milano Center. This is a little unusual since we're both from Melrose, evenso I never bumped into her at Shaw's, CVS, Breads and Bits, the Post Office, all places where you might expect to see someone who lived in the same town as you do. Ella was strictly Mirror meetings.
She was one of the first people I talked with at my first meeting. Her digital camera was brand new and, during the meeting, she was snapping off shots of everything that moved, stopping to look down into the viewer after each one to see how she did. Sometimes she'd say, "Ohmygod." and chuckle to herself. The one she took of me that day is still in the "Who We Are" file with my bio. I say "still" because she was unhappy with it and said she would replace it after my first story ran. I'm happy it's still there, it gives me something special to remember about her.
I'll remember, too, what a bubbly personality she had. She was mischievious, always had a quip to inject into a sonorous meeting to make us laugh and brighten things up. Her Mirror stories were like that, too. The humor glimmered along until she got you to the part where she wanted you to laugh, and she never failed.
It was especially touching at her funeral when her godson read three of her Mirror stories because he thought that they were so revealing of her personality. They were all funny stories, of course. Even in that sadness she found a way to make us laugh. Some things come through no matter what.
Writer Joe Sullivan
Remembering Ella ... her inspiration
The single most impressive consideration about Ella was the burning, incandescent love she carried for her Church; the Catholic Church. Her brother, since gone to his reward, was one of her inspirations. The energy of this love is what kept her going and glowing with energy and her love for us all. The love and comfort of her faith is why she was such a valued member of the Silver Stringers. It was the food she needed and we saw and profited from it all. God be with her.
Writer Len Dalton
January 4, 2008