Ellen Vales, a Caretaker in Many Forms, Dies at 73

This obituary is a part of a sequence about individuals who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others right here.

Ellen Vales cherished to prepare dinner. Her specialty, and a favourite amongst those that cherished her, was her personal Creole model of gravy. She made it for her associates. She made it for her household. She made it for the youngsters at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Fla., the place she labored as a meals service supervisor for almost 20 years.

“She was the home base for us,” her brother, Ronald Vales, mentioned in a telephone interview. “My mom and dad died in the ’70s, and Ellen, to me, was the place I would bring my kids to for the weekend.”

Ms. Vales was beloved by her co-workers and a assist for her finest pal and cousin, Yvonne Burton, whom she spoke to every single day.

“I was going through some medical issues, and I went to her house to recuperate,” Ms. Burton mentioned. “She took care of me — cooking meals, shopping, taking me to doctor appointments.”

Ms. Vales died on April eight at a hospital in DeLand, Fla., about 42 miles north of Orlando. She was 73 and lived in DeLand. The trigger was Covid-19, her brother mentioned.

Ms. Vales was a “do-it-yourself” sort of individual. She typically tackled dwelling enchancment initiatives, together with laminating her flooring, and took courses at Home Depot to study dwelling upkeep.

“She was there to offer any help she could,” mentioned Mr. Vales, who had frolicked at his sister’s dwelling recovering from knee surgical procedure.

Ellen Marie Vales was born on June 22, 1947, in Galveston, Texas, to Tifford and Mary Mae Vales. Her father was a upkeep employee and her mom a nurse’s aide. The household relocated to Greenburgh, N.Y., in Westchester County, the place Ms. Vales grew up along with her three siblings, Ronald, Sylvia and Joyce. She graduated from Woodlands High School in Hartsdale, N.Y.

Her marriage to Leslie Peterson, in 1966, ended in divorce in 1988. A stay-at-home mom throughout her marriage, Ms. Vales moved to North Carolina after her divorce, then to Orlando in 1990. She settled in DeLand in 2001.

Along along with her brother Ronald, she is survived by her kids, Daryn and Dina Peterson; her sister, Joyce Clayton; 4 grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

“No matter what the relation was with her family and friends, she was dedicated,” Mr. Vales mentioned of his sister. “If she was home, then the door was open and people knew they were welcome there. There was no question about that.”