Kay's Story

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GLOUCESTER: Kay (Bonaventura) Ellis, 65, of Gloucester, passed away at home on March 2, 2016, after a yearlong battle with ovarian cancer. Kay was the loving wife of Tom Ellis with whom she shared 37 years of marriage.

Kay was born in Beverly on October 22, 1950, to the late Louis and Margaret (Larkin) Bonaventura.

Kay grew up in Beverly and graduated from Beverly High School in 1968. She studied at Univerisity of Massachusetts Amherst and graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Kay spent most of her life in Gloucester.

Kay’s husband Tom always dreamed of building a schooner to help bring history alive and introduce tourists and locals alike to the amazing wonders of Gloucester. Tom was the dreamer, but Kay made it happen. In 1997, Kay and Tom sold their other businesses, borrowed every nickel they could, and built the schooner Thomas E Lannon. For the last 17 years, every fifth-grader in the City of Gloucester has come for a sail welcomed by Kay and Tom. She and Tom played host to many of the best parties in town.

Before owning the schooner Lannon, Kay also co-owned Essex River Basin Adventures in Essex. Kay had previously been a reading teacher, Realtor, and worked for the Beverly Housing Authority.

Kay served the City of Gloucester and the Cape Ann community in many ways. She served on the West Parish and O’Maley School PTOs, the School Connection, the North of Boston CVB, and helped start the Discover Gloucester DMO.

Kay loved life. She and Tom often told their friends and sons that their goal was to have all the fun of retirement early. And so for the last eight winters, they would drive a few thousand miles from Gloucester to Driggs, ID. There, they would ski 80+ days every winter at Grand Targhee in Wyoming. Kay was always first on the chairlift in the morning for fresh powder. She would ski hard all day and then go cross-country skiing with her dog, Lucy in the afternoon while Tom read cowboy and pirate books. One of Kay’s favorite memories was taking her granddaughter Sydney skiing for the first time. She loved travel, skiing, horseback riding (she grew up riding at Pine Tree Equestrian Center in Beverly Farms), and most of all adventure.

Kay is survived by two sons, Heath J. and his wife, Yvonne G. Ellis of Gloucester, and Brian T. and his wife, Malisa K. Ellis of Arlington. Kay is also survived by her grandchildren, Sydney K. Ellis and Eliza G. Ellis. Kay was the sister to the late Paul Bonaventura. Kay is survived by many nieces and nephews.

Kay’s celebration of life will be held on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, at The Gloucester House, 63 Rogers St., Gloucester, 6 p.m. Relatives and close friends are respectfully invited to attend. Interment will be in Dolliver’s Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Kay’s honor to “Turning the Tide Ovarian Retreat” which was a great encouragement to Kay in her last year. They should be sent to the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center, Michael Reisman, director, P.O. BOX 322, Elsworth, ME 04605. Please put In Honor of Kay Ellis in the memo line on the check. For online condolences and register book please visit www.pikenewhall.com. Arrangements are under the direction of the Pike-Newhall Funeral Home, Gloucester.
Published on  March 4, 2016
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