Ellen A. Buffington, died July 12 in Rego Park, New York, after a long illness. She is the daughter of the late Eugene and Suzanne Bartczak of North Bellmore, New York. Ellen is survived by sister Andi (Irwin) and brothers David (Carol) and Peter (Frances).

Ellen led a life of exploration and challenge. Whenever faced by a life change, she never looked back, to rue a loss, but formulated a plan to conduct herself realistically. She subscribed to the motto "Accommodation without Surrender." Her neighbor described her as "spunky".

When Ellen moved from Ohio to New York, she only planned to stay for several years. She thought of moving every three years to seek the stimulation of a new city, a new people. But two realizations kept her in New York. She found everything she wanted in New York. When medical issues severely limited her mobility and energy, she accepted that the best strategy was to stay in New York.

Ellen pursued a variety of interests - New York history, culture, animal welfare, the ecology, education, and human dignity, to name a few. She solidified that stance with regular monthly contributions to a score of charities and public institutions.

Her explorations took many forms. She traveled to Alaska to see the Northern Lights. She rode the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. She asked a friend to arrange a surprise trip for her vacation. She encouraged her two brothers and sister to convene each year somewhere in the U.S. where none of us has visited before - Charleston SC, Jackson WY, Sante Fe NM, Dillon CO, upstate NY. She studied Chinese, took wood routing classes, earned a pilot's license, created many items on her beloved Viking sewing machine.

She especially enjoyed exploring the architectural delights of New York City. She hosted me (a Navy veteran) during Fleet Week. She delighted in sampling the restaurants in her neighborhood, as well as in Manhattan. Her reward after undergoing chemotherapy was to enjoy a meal at one of her favorite restaurants.

Ellen was devoted to her family and friends. She maintained a large collection of cards and stationery to send to friends for an anniversary or birthday. Whenever she encountered an interesting article or Podcast, she would forward it to the appropriate person. She wrote weekly to our aunt, often with a cute picture. We talked every Sunday; she always asked about my wife and pets.

Above all, Ellen was humble. I found an Air Force Outstanding Civilian Service medal in her belongings. She never told anyone about this and other awards she received. Although faced with difficult challenges, she never complained. If she was feeling poorly, she understood that there were many other people in much worse condition.

Ellen was appreciative of the life she was able to enjoy.

Donations may be sent to Doctors Without Borders.