A Note

According to friends, University of Michigan graduate Ellen Kolasky passed away late Friday due to a recently diagnosed illness. Ellen graduated from the university in 2005 and was heavily involved in the student organization Students for PIRGIM as well as the Residential College, where she was a student. Her family will be holding a memorial service in Toledo, Ohio on Monday.

Update: The family has requested friends donate to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, the Nature Conservancy, or the League of Conservation Voters in her memory. Friends are welcome to attend the memorial service which will be held on Monday, April 17 at 2:00 p.m. at Temple Shomer Emunim, 6453 Sylvania Ave, Sylvania, OH 43560.

All are invited to leave their thoughts in the comment space below. Ellen was a remarkable person who will be missed. I’ll add links to any obituaries here when I find them.

Update, 4/17: The Toledo Blade published this obituary today:

Ellen Kolasky

Ellen Kolasky, age 24, passed away on Friday, April 14, 2006, at Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg. Ellen was born in Philadelphia on December 11, 1981, and moved to Toledo a year later. She is a graduate of Westside Montessori School, Maumee Valley Country Day, and the University of Michigan.

Ellen had an interesting and varied life. Her early passion was fossil collecting, and she and her family spent many hours during family vacations on the beaches of Brighton, Ontario, searching for fossils. Later she became an avid bird watcher. She and her mother, Betsy, were devoted “birders,” together managing bluebird boxes and spending time at Crane Creek and other venues. She even dragged her father to Jackson, MI, to watch the cranes migrating.
A gifted musician, Ellen played viola in various orchestras and ensembles. She also spent hours at the piano, and sat in on gigs at Murphy’s in Toledo. Ellen played tennis at Maumee Valley and later became an enthusiastic rock climber.

After graduating from Maumee Valley, Ellen spent almost two years in South Africa, working in the “bush” at a camp for young children combining her love of nature with her love of travel. Upon her return to the States, she enrolled at the University of Michigan, earning a degree in environmental studies and music in May, 2005. She was environmentally and politically active on campus, nationally, and interned at the League of Conservation Voters in Washington, DC. After graduation, she worked at Zingerman’s Deli. She loved her cat, Anya, and the many other dogs and cats her family had during her life.

Ellen will be lovingly remembered by her parents, David and Betsy Kolasky of Toledo; her sister, Becca Spain (John), of Philadelphia, Maggie Kolasky (Martin Whitby) of London, England, and her niece, Elsie Anne Whitby. She will also be loved and remembered by her aunts, uncles, and cousins, and countless caring and wonderful friends from Toledo, Ann Arbor and elsewhere.
A funeral service will take place at Temple Shomer Emunim, 6453 Sylvania Avenue on Monday, April 17 at 2 p.m., followed by interment at Eagle’s Point Cemetery in Rossford, Ohio.

A special thanks to the warm and caring staff of Hospice of Northwest Ohio for their support. Contributions in her memory may be made to Hospice of Northwest Ohio, The Nature Conservancy, or the League of Conservation Voters, Washington, DC.

Published in the Toledo Blade from 4/16/2006 – 4/17/2006.

Author: Rob Goodspeed


  1. Ellen was also a the Environmental Issues Commission Chair on MSA and was the RCSC in East Quad. She organized a coalition of environmental and political groups in support of the Greenbelt Iniative. She also wrote a widely quoted report on youth voting as an intern for the League of Conservation Voters.

    More then that though, she was a good friend and roommate. As the oldest member of our overcrowded rental in Georgetown in summer 04, she always played the role of the “mom,” cooking great dinners and providing an often much needed voice of reason. I especially remember her patiently trying to teach me how to cook.

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