Ellen D. Bush

January 9, 1945 ~ August 8, 2018 (age 73)

Ellen Duffy Bush, dearly beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend to all died peacefully at her home on Wednesday afternoon, August 8, 2018 at the age of 73.  She took her last breath embraced by her loving husband of 17 years, James Bush, while also surrounded by family and friends. She is survived by her husband James Bush of Venice, FL; and two sons, Paul Duffy Tobin (Kate) of Ridgefield, CT, Matthew Thomas Tobin (Jillian) of Evanston, IL; and one stepson and two stepdaughters, Patrick Bush (Jung Eun) of Seoul, South Korea, Colleen Bush (Troy) of Chicago, IL, Deirdre Donovan of Pacific Palisades, CA. She is survived by seven grandchildren, Connor, Maeve, Declan, and Sinead Tobin; Aidan, Stella, and Orlando Tobin. She is also survived by her sister Mary Lou Corrigan (James) of San Francisco, CA and brother Thomas Duffy (Barbara Joanne) of St. Simons Island, GA along with numerous nieces and nephews. 

Ellen was born on January 9, 1945 and raised in Rochester, NY until she followed the advice of her teachers at the Academy of the Sacred Heart when she moved to the Midwest to attend Barat College in Lake Forest, IL. She married Paul Gordon Tobin and moved to Evanston to raise their family. She loved all things Notre Dame and became a lifelong fan after growing up listening to Fighting Irish football on the radio with her great aunt, Auntie Kitty.  During those same fall afternoons, she also developed her baking prowess, perfecting her famous apple pie recipe with her grandmother, Nana.

From an early age, Ellen not only enjoyed listening to and watching sports, but being a talented athlete herself, she loved to participate in as many sports as possible (Title IX came a few years too late for her to enjoy its benefits). Whether it was basketball and field hockey during her youth, or tennis, softball, platform tennis, and golf later in her life, Ellen found success in every sport she played, winning numerous titles along the way, including a USA League Tennis National Championship with her close friends. Throughout her life, Ellen had such an enjoyment of sports that she wanted to share it with all of those around her, continuously encouraging everyone, young or old, to participate no matter their level of play. Her inspiring words and patience as a teacher of the game, particularly tennis and golf, endeared her to everyone, including the Special Olympics tennis team she helped coach in Venice, FL.   

After marrying Jim, they moved to Venice, FL to take advantage of the warm weather and ample golfing opportunities while avoiding the cold winters up north. They enjoyed the slower-paced lifestyle, adding to their already large group of friends, and relished traveling together. During their journeys, whether in the U.S. or abroad, Ellen and Jim always made sure to savor local food and wine, while sneaking in a round of golf (or three).

Above all else, family and friends were central to Ellen throughout her life. She was forever open to meet her friends and family for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, and was always the first to offer a warm embrace during difficult times, and to protect those dearest to her. Ellen was the greatest cheerleader and effusive in sharing the exploits of her sons and grandchildren, regardless of the activity or venue. Friendly, energetic, vibrant, strong and ultimately brave, Ellen will be remembered and mourned by those blessed to have been touched by her. 

A memorial service in Ellen’s honor will be announced at a later date. As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to the Special Olympics Florida, 1915 Don Wickham Drive, Clermont, FL 34711.  Please include “Sarasota County – Ellen Bush Memorial” in the memo line.

Arrangements entrusted to Evanston Funeral & Cremation, Roland F. Weis director. Info 847 866-8843, condolence and guestbook at

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