McInnis & Holloway
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McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes
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DONNELLY, Ellen “Nell” Mary (nee Barlow)

October 15, 1933 – Dublin, Ireland
March 12, 2017 – Calgary, Alberta

Nell passed away peacefully surrounded by her loved ones on Sunday March 12, 2017 at the age of 83 years.

Nell Donnelly was born in Dublin Ireland on October 15, 1933. She was the youngest of 5 girls born to William and Ellen Barlow. Those who knew her in her younger years would say she was fearless. Whether it was swimming in the strong currents of the ocean or climbing walls and romping around building sites, she never backed down from a challenge and could always be counted on to lead her friends to their next adventure.
One of these childhood friendships resulted in Nell meeting her beloved husband Ferris. They married in 1951 in Carshalton, England, and their first two children were born in London. They returned to Ireland in 1953. After having 3 boys and 3 girls; Anne, Lynne, Stephen, Mark, Richard, and Lesley, they moved to Canada following the tragic loss of their eldest daughter Anne in 1967. Nell and Ferris settled in Calgary where they went on to have one more daughter, Helen in 1970. Upon arriving in Calgary Nell was quick to make strong friendships that would last her lifetime. Although Nell loved Canada, a part of her heart always remained in Ireland.
Nell was a presence. She always had a story to tell and a quick wit. No one could knit, smoke, and carry on a conversation simultaneously like she could. She was the family Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune champion. She took pride in her knowledge of world events and never backed down from a family debate.
Family was everything to Nell and she let us know it. With constant “God Bless” and “I Love you” we always knew that our happiness was her happiness. She was our “glue” and matriarch. Home was wherever she was. Her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will always cherish our tea times, card games, sing songs, and long conversations solving the problems of the world. Grandkids swinging in her nighty, spilling tea on the floor… “Mind the tea!” or pulling treasures off the shelves, nothing was a bother to her as long as we were together.
She had a zest for life and in the end passed with a quiet dignity surrounded by her family who adored her. Although we will miss her we are so grateful for the memories that we will hold in our heart forever.

She is greatly missed and fondly remembered by her sister Joan, her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and all her family and friends. Nell was received with loving arms by her beloved husband Ferris, who passed away in 2009, eldest daughter Anne who passed away in 1967 and 3 eldest sisters.

A Funeral Mass for close friends and family will be celebrated at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church on Thursday March 16, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Condolences may be forwarded through The family wishes to thank the staff on unit 46 at the Foothills Medical Center for their care and kindness.

In living memory of Ellen Donnelly, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: 403-241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Jennifer Bradnam :

    To all of Nell ‘s children …you were blessed with the BEST mother. As her friend we loved her and will miss her but as her family you were her everything.

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  2. Cheryl Elmquist :

    Lynne, Stephen, Lesley, Mark, Richard, and Helen, I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of your mom. She was a wonderful lady with a kind and loving heart. Her bubbly personality and infectious laugh could brighten up anyone’s day. She truly understood what was important in life and always kept those she loved close to her heart. She will be sadly missed. Love Cheryl Elmquist Woodlock

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