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Ellen Frances Pillard

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Ellen Pillard

Ellen Frances Pillard died on Oct. 8, 2020, at the Converse Home in Burlington, Vt. Her death came from Alzheimer’s disease.

Ellen was born on July 9, 1938, in Yellow Springs, the daughter of Basil and Lilian Pillard. She attended Bryan High, graduated from Antioch College in 1960, and received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington in 1967. 

Ellen moved to Reno to become director of a home for differently abled adults. She then joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, where she was a professor in the School of Social Work. She was chair of the Faculty Senate, 1992–93, and received the Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award in 1986. Ellen was an outspoken feminist, a member and supporter of the LGBT community and a board member of the Nevada AIDS Foundation.

Her academic work derived from her commitment to empowering women. She was involved in the establishment of a women’s studies program at the University of Nevada at Reno in the ’70s and ’80s and taught courses in that department. Her published research was based on interviews with women working as prostitutes under the highly restrictive Nevada state regulations. 

Ellen loved nature. She hiked and camped in the mountains, deserts and canyons throughout the West. She was a longtime member of the Sierra Club, chair of the Toiyabe Chapter, and she served a term on Sierra Club’s board of directors. She was familiar with and supportive of Native American culture in the West.

Ellen also loved Vermont and spent vacation time there with friends and family. The final years of her life were spent at the Converse Home in Burlington, Vt. Our family is deeply moved by the outstanding care and the kindness beyond measure provided to our dear Ellen by the staff of the Converse Home.

Ellen is survived by her brother, Richard C. Pillard; her nieces, Victoria Pillard, Cornelia T. L. Pillard and Elizabeth Jane Pillard; and by six grandnieces and grandnephews.

Ellen will be cremated and her ashes buried in the family plot at Grandview Cemetery in Charlotte, Vt. A memorial service will be arranged.

Send donations in her memory to the Sierra Club and to Antioch College.


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