FORT MYERS, Fla. – Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, 72, Ellen Rose Fabiani nee (Ernst), retired chef, Staten Island native who lived in Greensboro, Vt., for over 30 years recently settling in Fort Myers, Florida has left this world all too soon after a valiant battle with cancer. Surrounded by her husband and children at the time of her death, Ellen was brought home to the Lord Nov. 22, in Fort Myers.
Ellen leaves behind her adoring husband of 53 years, Frank Fabiani. They were high school sweethearts who met at the Fox movie theater in Staten Island where they both worked as teenagers, still smitten with each other to her very last day. A supportive and devoted mother to her daughter Ellen-Jean and son-in-law Ivan Weiner, son Paul and daughter-in-law Cherie Fabiani and her youngest daughter Jayne Fabiani. Ellen was the doting and ever-loving grandmother of seven: Nicholas Mannino, William Mannino, Benjamin Mannino, Elijah Weiner, Andrew Weiner, Sierra Fabiani and Dominick Fabiani, as well as an amazing great-grandma to her adorable great-granddaughter Olivia Lane Mannino. She was an exuberant and caring sister to John and wife Linda Ernst, Edward (late) and wife Joyce Ernst, Jim and wife Mary Ernst, Tom and wife Patty Ernst, and sister Joanne Choma along with her many many beloved nieces and nephews with whom she all held close in her heart.
Ellen also was an altruistic friend and cherished cousin to many. She was the daughter of the late John and Eleanor Ernst. Family was everything to Ellen, her door was always open and so was her heart. Wherever Ellen and Frank were, was always home and anyone lucky enough to share in that left with a piece of that happiness and warmth to carry forward. She listened without judgment, gave without expectation, and helped because it was the right thing to do, and loved us all with a zealous heart. A graduate of Tottenville High School, Ellen was an entrepreneur at heart from selling Tupperware, catering events, to making and selling crafts, most of which she just gave away.
After many years vacationing in Vermont, Ellen and her husband Frank made it their home in 1990 where she attended the New England Culinary Institute and worked as a chef at the quaint Highland Lodge in Greensboro. Pursuing a life of cross-country skiing, trying new recipes, and raising horses, Ellen and her husband spent the brief Vermont summers sailing the waters of Lake Memphremagog aboard their treasured sailboat “Andiamo.” always packing gourmet treats and including us all in their adventures.
When she wasn’t filling her home with warmth and kindness, keeping in touch with family, playing “words with friends” and infamously rearranging furniture, she could be found driving and listening to music such as David Bowie, enroute to delivering homemade treats to brighten a friend’s day always looking to share her light. Company was the secret to her well-kept home.
She was the glue to our family never letting us splinter too far without a gathering, keeping us all close, a legacy we will continue. As a young breast cancer survivor, life threw mom so many challenges, some of the biggest any person can face in their lifetime, but she stood up to each one with grit and determination. She always found a way to find the best in everybody and everything and her resilience was admired by us all. Every day we will remember how selfless and caring mom was. Despite recent illness and pain, she got up every day with the mindset to care for others even during her final moments. An unshakable woman of faith, Ellen nurtured her large family and made time for everyone caring deeply for her friends and neighbors, never out of obligation but because of who she was. She left this world a better place brightening every room with her smile and loved us all with abandon. Thank you, mom, for instilling in us the strength and courage to love with full hearts and to stand on our own two feet. The greatest gift any mother could give her children.
As per Ellen’s wishes she will be cremated. As her family grieves her tremendous loss, they are choosing to remember her in a way that honors her cheerful servant spirit. A celebration of life is being planned at a later date at the Pennsylvania home of her daughter Ellen-Jean and son in law Ivan, in the tradition of family gatherings that mattered so deeply to Ellen.
“And If, When It Is All Over, I’m Asked What I Did With my Life, I Want to Be Able to Say, ‘I Offered Love.”” (Terri St. Cloud)