Helen A. (Ellen Cantwell) McIsaac

OBIT---Helen-McIsaacBAR HARBOR — Helen A. (Ellen Cantwell) McIsaac, born Dec. 12, 1920, deceased Nov. 6, 2014.

Ellen was born in Bar Harbor and christened by Father O’Brien in Holy Redeemer Church as Helen, but she was called Ellen after her father’s sister. Her parents were William Cantwell from Newfoundland and Violet Burns Cantwell from Bar Harbor. She attended St. Edward’s Catholic School along with her sister, Catherine “Kate” Jones and her sister, Mary Marois, and graduated from Bar Harbor High School. Ellen was a dental assistant to J. Austin Furphy in Bar Harbor in the summer, Boston in the spring and fall, and Clearwater, Fla., in the winter.

Ellen married Maurice J. McIsaac Sr. on May 19, 1947, at Holy Redeemer. They drove to Fort Dix, N.J, where her daughter, Mary Ellen, was born. Shortly after their wedding, the fire of ’47 destroyed much of Bar Harbor including her parents’ and grandparents’ homes and those of many family members and friends. They lost all of their wedding presents as well.

Their next post was Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska, where her son, M.J., was born. She often spoke of the incredible beauty of Alaska and the indescribable northern lights. Maurice was then assigned to the Pentagon and they spent a few years in Maryland before he was sent to Camp Zama, Japan, but Ellen, Mary Ellen, and M.J. stayed behind in her parents’ house in Bar Harbor for about a year. In 1955, she and her children, much to her father’s dismay, traveled by train and plane across country before flying to Japan. Hugh was born in Japan as well as his cousins, Paul and Steve. Ellen’s sister, Mary, and her husband, Hank, were stationed in Japan at the same time. Shortly after Hugh’s birth, the family left Japan and flew to Detroit where they bought a new car and drove home to Bar Harbor.

Maurice’s final post was Atlanta, Ga., from 1957 to May 1962, when he retired after 20 years in the U.S. Army and came home to Bar Harbor.

Ellen’s hobbies were painting, knitting, crocheting, gardening and reading. She loved her camp on Donnell Pond where she spent many summer months with her lab, Missy. Our family will be forever grateful for the cherished memories we have of her and family and friends while at the Cobweb Cottage.

In the years before her passing, she often told us that she had a wonderful life and looked forward to seeing her loved ones who have gone before her. She is survived by her sister, Mary; her children, Mary Ellen, M.J. and his wife, Trisha Rhodes, and Hugh and his special partner, Victoria Watkins and her son, Nathaniel; as well as her treasured grandchildren, Amy Shea Wingate and her husband, Josh Wingate, Riley McIsaac and her husband, Jaime Banuelos, Colin Shea and his wife, Marybeth Shea, Naomi McIsaac and her fiancé, Kevin Koegel, Rowan McIsaac and Shelby McIsaac and her very special new great- granddaughter, Fiona Grace Banuelos. She was predeceased by her loving husband, Maurice; and her sister, Catherine Jones. She was devastated, as well as the whole family, at the recent loss of her much loved son-in-law, Richard (Fitz) Shea.

A Funeral Mass was held Nov. 10, 2014, at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Bar Harbor, with a gathering afterwards in the church hall.  Ellen was a life-long member of Holy Redeemer and asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Holy Redeemer Restoration Fund or Holy Redeemer Cemetery, 21 Ledgelawn Ave., Bar Harbor, ME 04609. Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Know when to pay your respects.