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Ellen Lee Wess

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Published in The Needham Times on July 2, 2023

Ellen Lee Wess and Bernard P. Wess, Jr. were born on the same day, June 7, 1949 in Baltimore, MD where they both lived for 30 years. Ellen was the daughter of a prominent CPA/Attorney, the late Mischa Schnider and Evelyn. Her sister was the late Carol Schaefer.

Interestingly, at one time before they met, in the 1960s, her father was the attorney and accountant for Baltimore Business Machines; Bernie’s late father, Bernie Sr. was a salesman of business machines and calculators and Bernie repaired calculators for the firm in college. They then met in September, 1970 at the University of Maryland. Bernie was supervising the Social Sciences labs and fixing calculators and Ellen was a Graduate Assistant. They were engaged two months later, married in August, 1971, and spent 53 years together as a couple and as friends.

Ellen was a straight “A” student, graduated from the University of Maryland as a national honors student and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and completed her graduate work in clinical psychology at Towson University. She became a licensed clinical psychologist. Ellen loved to read books until the end of her life. She could also read people as if they were books and it was remarkable and a bit uncanny to watch. She couldn’t explain how she did it; she said she felt it. Ellen became the Chief Clinical Psychologist for a Maryland state hospital in her 20s.

Ellen and Bernie and Jennifer (today Jennifer Chung) moved to Needham Heights in 1979 to help MIT start a software company and fix the computer systems for the Massachusetts State Police and she helped with HR in their companies and consulting activities for many years. Philip was born in Needham and she spent the next two decades completely dedicated to raising her children and playing Mahjong with her friends. She was a big hit in China in 1995 because she could play the game and the guides were fascinated by this and her long hair which was down to her knees at the time.

Ellen took up making computer created greeting cards, gift boxes and other party and holiday treats with candy for years as a member of the Pink Stampers. This was greatly appreciated by her grandchildren: Mason Chung, Jackson Wess, Berkeley Wess, and Kingston Wess who gorge themselves on candy when they come to her house.

The family is particularly thankful for the intense support given by Ellen’s comprehensive medical team that Bernie helped create from Newton Wellesley, Brigham and Women’s and MGH hospitals, Compassionate Care ALS and Care Dimensions for their compassion, intense daily support and excellent research and medical care. If you wish, you may make a donation to Compassionate Care ALS in West Falmouth, MA or flowers are always appreciated in the Wess family.

Ellen requested no service or funeral. Check in the Spring, 2024 with the family for an open house at her home in June.