In Memory

Ellen Vartanoff VIEW PROFILE

Janet Millenson reports:

Ellen Vartanoff died on March 17, 2019 after a brave eight-year battle with ovarian cancer. Ellen was an artist, a teacher, and a true autodidact. She knew a tremendous amount about classical history, languages, print-making and paper-making, and of course science fiction and comics. She leaves behind a large network of devoted friends, including many people from different "generations" of the Future Mad Scientists of America club at Whitman. 

"There will be a memorial service for Ellen Vartanoff on Saturday, March 23rd at 11:30 a.m. at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, 3820 Aspen Hill Road, Silver Spring, Maryland 20906. Reception to follow in church hall. Please RSVP via email to Trevor Vartanoff at"

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03/19/19 10:33 AM #2    

Lisa Johnston (Howorth (Class President))

So sad to hear this! I dont think I can add anything more lovely than what Janet and Annette have said. I remember Ellen scurrying distractedly in the halls, no doubt thinking of Mad Scientist projects. She was born too early, and now would have been kicking all our asses as Wonder Woman in today's world of sci-fi, comics, and weird-science film heroes. RIP in the afterlife of her choosing.  Lisa (J.)


03/19/19 02:47 PM #3    

Leland Gamson

Ellen and I went through Bannockburn Elementary School, Pyle and Whitman together. She was  inner directed and many things in our cosmos delighted her merry, creative soul. It was always a joy to reconnect with Ellen at reunions as it connected the past with the present.

03/19/19 06:33 PM #4    

M Elizabeth Jones (Jones-Dern)

As I recall, Ellen was in my music and science classes.  She was brilliant.  Always looking outside the box.  I know she will be deeply missed by her family and friends.  RIP.

03/20/19 11:37 AM #5    

Deborah A. Snow

Ellen was always a kind friend.  And she stretched the imagination with her wide-ranging interests, comments, and humor.  I know she must have expanded her students' lives, minds, and creativity.  When I think of Whitman days, she remains one of the lights of everyday life there.  Be at peace, Ellen, and enjoy the next adventure.

03/20/19 05:00 PM #6    

Dean L Osgood

Oh my.

Ellen was a very interesting person to know. Literally a princess, as her father was Prince Michael Vartanoff .

We had fun in the science fiction club and I was looking forward to seeing her.

I hope she found out what happens next..

03/20/19 08:28 PM #7    

James M. Orsinger

Sad to hear of Ellen's passing. Will miss her eclectic spirit.

She was very welcoming and friendly to me, a displaced 11th grade transfer student from Churchill.

May she thrive in the ectosphere!

03/21/19 09:45 AM #8    

Lyn Fisher (Cortright)

Everyone on earth should learn to think outside the box and on such a big scale as Ellen did.  She challenged my thinking to grow.  It was nice to have her in my life, even if briefly.  

03/21/19 03:55 PM #9    

Jo H. Schneiderman

Ellen was one of my closest friends, especially in Junior High and High School.  I will always remember her fabulous super hero doodles, her proud Russian heritage and her warmth and friendliness.  I am so sad, Ellen has left us.

03/23/19 05:16 PM #10    

Susan Sharp

Like Lee Gamson, I went from elementary through high school with Ellen. My most vivid memory is selling Girl Scout cookies with her in fourth or fifth grade -- going to that imposing home on Wilson Lane to pick up some boxes. What an improbable duo!! Bob Peskin and I went to her memorial service today (where we ran into Janet Millenson and Helen Nardini) and the outpouring of love was overwhelming. Everyone there could testify that their life was better for having spent some time in Ellen's eccentric orbit. She loved life, loved connecting with people, loved being of service, and she will be missed mightily. We should all be so accepting and joyous in our lives.



03/26/19 06:34 PM #11    

Marian Greenspan

I am so sorry to hear of Ellen's death. I'm late to post because I couldn't access this website by cell phone while traveling in New Zealand. Others have already described Ellen's wonderful qualities better than I can. Like Lee and Susan, I knew Ellen from Bannockburn Elementary School through high school. Like Susan, I visited Ellen's house on Wilson Lane, and met her mother and sister. Neither Ellen not I fit into the conventional 60's model of high school girls, although she was far more original and creative in her non-conformity than me. May she continue on to more creative adventures in some other realm.

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