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Ellen Lawson Stevens, M.D.

Aug 24, 2012

Ellen Lawson Stevens, M.D.

Ellen Lawson Stevens, M.D., died at her daughter’s home in Cambridge, N.Y. on Aug. 14, 2012.

She was 88 years old.

Dr. Stevens was born on a small farm in Macedonia, Iowa on July 17, 1924, the daughter of Ralph and Eva (Murphy) Lawson. She graduated from high school in Treynor, Iowa at the age of 16, valedictorian of her class of 20 – Class of 1941.

After secretarial training in Des Moines, Iowa she held a number of jobs during and after the WWII years first in Denver, Colo., then in Boston, Mass. She took college courses part time and nights during these years.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston University in 1948, a Master of Arts in Psychology degree in 1949 and a M.D. from Tufts University Medical School in 1954.

She met a fellow physician, Aaron B. Stevens, while working in a hospital in Roxbury, Mass., and they married on Jan. 18, 1954. At the end of 1956 she and her husband, with two small sons, moved to Cambridge, N.Y. A daughter was born in 1959. For 14 years she was a full-time housewife and mother. For several years she taught anatomy classes at the Mary McClellan School of Nursing, was a member of the hospital’s Women’s Auxiliary, and a den mother for the Cub Scouts. Dr. Stevens was elected to two terms on the Cambridge School Board, perhaps the first woman to serve in this capacity.

In 1972 Dr. Stevens began her residency in Psychiatry at the Albany Medical Center. Following this she went into private practice. She was a founding member of the medical professional group Mental Health Associates of Albany, N.Y. Her professional career was abbreviated by the early onset of non-Alzheimer’s dementia. She retired at the age of 62 and lived quietly with her family in Cambridge and Sanibel, Fla.

Ellen enjoyed opera and attended numerous concerts and plays during her retirement. She volunteered at the Big Arts Center on Sanibel. She traveled extensively throughout her life and attended Elder Hostel programs in the United States and abroad.

Dr. Stevens is survived by her husband of 58 years, Aaron B. Stevens (Sanibel) and by three children: Ralph L. Stevens, M.D., and wife JoAnn, of Cazenovia, N.Y., Joseph E. Stevens, and wife Anastasia, of Santa Fe, N.M., and Hannah M. Stevens of Cambridge, N.Y. Dr. Stevens has five grandchildren. Dr. Stevens is also survived by a sister, Anita Mnuk of Madison, Wisc., and is predeceased by a sister, Lois Mayberry of Tigard, Oreg.

Dr. Stevens will be remembered for her quiet intelligence and keen interest in others. Her gentleness and kindness touched all who knew her. The family wishes to thank Dr. Stevens’ caregivers and therapists, Dr. Matt Pender and his staff, and the many members of the community who have lent their support and aid.

Services will be private but a memorial celebration will be held in the near future.

Should anyone wish to make a donation in Dr. Stevens’ honor, The Cambridge Public Library, 21 West Main Street, Cambridge, NY 12816; Cambridge Community Scholarship Fund, Inc, P. O. Box 317, Cambridge, NY 12816 or the Big Arts Center, 900 Dunlap Road, Sanibel, FL 33957, would be most appropriate.

Please visit www.ackleyrossfuneralhome.com to share a memory of Ellen or send a condolence.