Ellen Martin was born Ellen McGuire on May 27, 1928 in Glasgow, Scotland, the second of eight children of James and Ellen McGuire.
After eighth-grade Ellen worked at a clothing manufacturing company. Strong-willed and assertive, she moved into supervisory positions wherever she worked.
After immigrating to New York City in 1949, she worked in a book bindery.
She married Stanley Martin and gave birth to her only child Theresa Ann Martin, better known as Terre. Later as a single parent, Ellen sometimes worked two or three jobs.
When Terre graduated from college, Ellen moved back to Scotland and married another Martin, George Martin, who passed in 1984.
She moved to Santa Barbara in 1993 to be near Terre, her husband Frank Sanitate, and their three young children. She often babysat them and other neighborhood kids.
Strong and self-reliant, she never learned to drive, but walked for miles and knew all the bus routes. She lived independently in her own home in Rancho Santa Barbara until her death.
Ellen spent her time babysitting, bowling, shopping, and going to Weight Watchers. She prided herself, as a Scotswoman, on having become a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, which meant never having to pay a penny for meetings.
She has been member of St. Raphael’s parish for about 25 years.
She passed peacefully at 95 years of age, surrounded by family at Serenity House on Oct. 3, 2023.
Ellen is survived by her daughter Terre and her husband Frank Sanitate; their children and grandchildren Jamie Sanitate (Faith Gardner) and their daughters Roxanna and Zora; Ian Sanitate, Francesca Sanitate Arias (Ruben) and sons Nicolai and Andres.
She is also survived by her sister in Scotland, Margaret Black, age 93, and Margaret’s children Jackie, Theresa and John.
We thank her friends, especially Gwen Clark and David Nadeau, along with her bowling, gambling, Weight Watchers and church buddies, for their kind support during her illnesses over the past three years.
We also thank the kind staff at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center, Visiting Nurses Association and Serenity House.
A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23 at St. Raphael Church 5444 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara. Inurnment will follow at Goleta Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, you can contribute to the Visiting Nurses Association in her name: https://vna.health/ways-to-give/.
We will miss Ellen, and her energy, self-determination, and sense of humor — her greatest assets.