Ellen McNally

Ellen "Nella" McNally

1918 - 2019

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Obituary of Ellen "Nella" McNally

Ellen McNally, known to all as Nella, died on July 11, 2019 in the palliative care center at Middlesex Hospital, Middletown CT, a month shy of her 101st birthday. She died four days after a fall. Nella met her life goals of dying in her sleep, with the love of her family surrounding her and never having spent a day in a nursing home. Nella was a painter and etcher; she was an active artist all of her life. She was known for her terrible puns, sharp mind, fierce independence, love of tennis (which she played until age 95), un-oaked California chardonnay, doing the New York Times puzzles (acrostics a specialty) and a daily dose of salmon. She memorized every 2-3 letter word in the Scrabble dictionary; she was a formidable player. She was born on August 23, 1918 in New York City to Sarah (Lally) and Edward Bernard (EB) Carley. Her high school years were spent boarding at Kylmore Abbey in Connemara Ireland. The family attributed her always being cold as a result of life living at a school with no central heat. She earned her BA at Hunter College, New York and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Yale University, Class of '45. She also studied at the Arts Students League in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. She married George Philip McNally in 1945 at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York, and they raised their family in Jamaica Estates in Queens and had a weekend/ summer home on Nassau Point, on the North Fork of Long Island. They moved to Lake Forest, IL for 8 years before returning to New York in 1969. She and George also lived in Rabat, Morocco for two years before moving to Puerto Rico. While George died in 1981, the year they moved there, she stayed for another 19 years.  She truly loved her time in PR where she played tennis, painted and enjoyed the warmth and companionship of close friends every day. She agreed to move to Fort Lauderdale in 2001, as long as the condo was on the beach  and had a tennis court. Her son, daughter-in-law and their family were her mainstays. She spent summers in Connecticut visiting her two daughters and their families. Nella always maintained her studio. earning commissions from Panama to Ireland. She had one person shows in Lake Forest, Noroton and Darien, CT, Rabat, Morocco, Montserrat BWI, San Juan Puerto Rico, Inisboffin, Ireland and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 2016 she won "Best in Show" at the prestigious Bonnet House annual juried show in Fort Lauderdale. In 2019 Yale Art Gallery requested and received into their permanent collection an egg tempera painting of Sister Mary Margaret. That painting they deemed "trans-formative" in combining classic Renaissance techniques into a modern framework. It will be included in the upcoming Yale Gallery show and catalog "Yale 50-150". She is predeceased by her parents, her older sisters Sheela Costello Lang and Nancy Carley, her brother the Reverend Edward Bernard Carley and her younger sister Maire Carley. She is survived by her daughter Maura McNally Cochran (William) of Essex CT, Sheela McNally Roxburgh (David) of Shelton, CT, son Philip McNally (Eileen) of Plantation, FL, and niece Mary Lang Kerr (William) of North Palm Beach FL. Her decedents include six grandchildren and a grand-niece as well as nine great-grandchildren and a great-grand niece and nephew. She is to be interred in the family plot at Holy Rood Cemetery, Westbury, New York on July 22, 2019. The services are private.