COOPERSTOWN – Eleanore (Ellsworth) MacDougall, 80, wife of Village Historian Hugh MacDougall, died of a sudden heart attack on Saturday evening, Nov. 21, 2015, at her home in Cooperstown. The couple were posted to Africa and Southeast Asia during his career with the Foreign Service.
She was the daughter of the late Waldo and Dorris (Gouldhart) Ellsworth of Cooperstown, and granddaughter of the late Ralph Waldo Ellsworth, a founder of Ellsworth & Sill’s clothing store.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her brother, Robert Ellsworth of Washington D.C., and his sons and their wives, Eric and Holly Ellsworth of Washington D.C., Brian and Isabel Ellsworth of Caracas, Venezuela, and Andrew and Janeen Ellsworth of Pittsburgh, Pa.; and by her brother Paul Ellsworth and his wife, Anne, of Dennis Port, Mass., and his daughter, Air Force Col. Katherine (Ellsworth) Oler.
She was born on Jan. 26, 1935, in Cooperstown, and attended Cooperstown Central School, graduating in 1952. After attending Radcliffe College for one year, and spending several years in secretarial work in Boston, she graduated in 1958 from Boston University, where she participated in several choirs.
Always interested in music, she moved to New York City and took evening classes at the Julliard School of Music. For over three years in the later 1960s, she was a caseworker for the city Welfare Department, in charge of 50 families in East Harlem.
In 1970, she renewed an old friendship with Hugh MacDougall, a Foreign Service Officer then on temporary assignment in New York City, and on Dec. 26, 1970, they were married at Christ Episcopal Church in Cooperstown. They have no children.
She accompanied her husband for 15 years on assignments in East Africa as deputy principal officer (1971-74) at the American Consulate General in Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), and as political officer (1974-76) at the American Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, and finally in Southeast Asia as counselor for political and economic affairs (1981-84) at the American Embassy in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar), as well as on his several assignments at the Department of State in Washington.
While overseas, in addition to the constant social activities required of wives of senior diplomats, she was active in the Fourth Congress of Southern African Women in Mozambique in 1973, local women’s welfare groups in Tanzania and Burma, and the activities of local Episcopal churches. She also taught piano and sang in a variety of choruses.
Following her husband’s retirement from the Foreign Service in 1986, the couple returned to Cooperstown, where she taught piano. She also took organ lessons and served for several years as pianist/choir director, and then as organist for the First Baptist Church, as well as participating in activities of the Oneonta Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. For many years she was an accompanist and singer in the annual Fly Creek Philharmonic. She was a long-time member of Christ Church, and at the time of her death an alto in its Choir.
In 2006-11, she was on the board of the Cooperstown Village Library, and secretary in 2008-11. She was a member of the Garden Discussion Group, the Village Democratic Committee, the League of Women Voters, the Otsego Chapter of the DAR, and the Glimmerglass Opera Guild.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, at Christ Church, with Curate Matthew Stromberg officiating, Eleanore’s ashes will be interred next spring in the Christ Church Columbarium Wall.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Cooperstown Food Pantry, 25 Church Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Tillapaugh Funeral Service.