Ellen O’Neil Maher, long-time Local staffer


Ellen O’Neil Maher, 90, a life-long resident of Chestnut Hill, died on April 27.

Ellen was born in 1930, in Philadelphia, the only child of Andrew Augustin and Agnes Brennan O’Neil. Her father worked for the City of Philadelphia and her mother died when Ellen was one year old. She was raised by Andrew and her O’Neil aunts, Margaret, Lizzy and Bess, along with long summer visits up to her mother’s family in Pottsville, where the family owned bars and a hotel. Ellen grew up with her cousins Cassie (Gilardi) and Peg (Jeffers); the three were inseparable throughout their lives.

She was a devoted member of Our Mother Consolation parish where she attended grade school, going on to graduate from Little Flower High School. She married William Joseph Maher in 1950. During the early years of their marriage, they lived in Pittsburgh, Boston, Chicago and Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The couple were married for 63 years before he died in 2014.

After settling back in Chestnut Hill, Ellen worked for many local businesses: Thorell’s Kitchen Korner, Chestnut Hair beauty salon and the Chestnut Hill Local. All who came in contact with Ellen experienced her caring personality, sense of humor, and ability to connect with everyone.

She was an active member of Our Mother of Consolation parish, serving in numerous roles over the years including helping with Sunday collections and Catholic charities, preparing church linens for masses and cooking the priests Sunday breakfasts.

Her dedication to holidays and love of community resulted in volunteering for the Chestnut Hill Bocce Club July 4th celebrations for many years. Ellen was a longtime member, serving time as president of the Chestnut Hill Women’s Guild. In 2008, she was awarded the Chestnut Hill Community Association distinguished service award.

She loved her pet collies, was a knitter, an avid reader, a Philly sports fan, a South Jersey beach devotee, and was popular for hosting Friday night cocktail parties featuring her infamous Manhattans—preferably on her beloved Gravers Lane porch.

Ellen had the gift of befriending and forging lifelong bonds with a wide range of people of all ages. She was cherished by her family, neighbors, and friends.

Maher is Survived by her children Andrew P. (Sarah), Ellen A., William J. Jr. (Veronica) and Joseph A. (Karen), and grandchildren James (Valessa), Nicholas, Grace, Bernadette, Anna, Madeline, Julia, Natalie, Julian and Caroline.



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