Ellen Harrington
Ellen Harrington
Ellen Harrington
Ellen Harrington
Ellen Harrington
Ellen Harrington

Funeral Service

10:00 am
Monday, November 20, 2023
St. Patricks Church
111 East High St.
Milford, Pennsylvania, United States

Obituary of Ellen Harrington

Ellen (Eileen) Harrington died at home on November 16 in Milford, PA. She was 93.

Eileen Stafford was born in Castlekevin, County Cork, Ireland. Just three pounds at birth, her parents Mary and John wrapped her in cotton, placed her beside the hearth and fed her goats' milk through a dropper.

Eily, as she was known, attended the Presentation Convent secondary school in Doneraile riding seven miles on her bike to and from home. The nuns sought in vain to curb her temper and obstinacy. They were also unable to stop her and her friends from meeting boys out on the country lanes.  

She excelled in Irish and at the nuns' urging,  she left Ireland at 17 to attend nursing school in London. Shrewdly observant by nature, she reveled in the strict discipline, high standards  and hands-on patient care. It was her vocation. 

She and her nursing school friends enjoyed Irish cultural activities, honing their fashion sensibilities and Queen Elizabeth's coronation. Together they hitchhiked throughout Scotland staying in hostels and barely adhering to their strict curfews and remained lifelong friends.

She was working as a private duty nurse when  she met her husband Captain Joseph Harrington who was working in the dental clinic at the former South Ruislip US Air Force Base hospital.

They were married at Annakissa Church in Castlekevin in November 1957 and returned to London. In November 1958, Eileen emigrated to America with their infant daughter so Joseph could start a private dental practice.

They settled in Milford eventually buying a large Victorian former boarding house.  They remodeled it and created a two-chair dental office and a home. 

It was a practice they built together and a family business. They and their children answered patient phone calls day and night, cleaned the office and waiting room nightly and cleared snowy sidewalks.  The kitchen was an extension of the office as friends often visited after their appointments. 

Eileen's gift of hospitality shone in that kitchen as she encouraged drop-in visits by friends and chats over tea and coffee. Actually, she loved to chat anywhere in town with friends and strangers alike. 

On St. Patrick's Day and other major holidays, she happily served friends her signature Irish coffee and the Stafford/O'Donovan family Irish soda bread. 

Volunteering was her other calling. From washing and ironing altar cloths for St. Patrick's Church to serving as president of the Women's Guild, leading the rosary at Belle Reve and umpteen other roles, her parish family was a central part of her life. 

She was also a dedicated patient advocate at the former Mercy Hospital in Port Jervis, NY, active PTA member and outspoken activist protector of Milford's historic homes and renowned beauty and character.  Her other volunteer activities are too numerous to name. 

Eileen is survived by her four children, Mary Geraldine, Ann Maria, John and Lisa Harrington; her sons-in-law, Brian Wilder and Thad Jackson and daughter-in-law, Naomi who was her caregiver.

Also left to remember and tell stories about her are her grandchildren, Kieran (Kelly), Aiden, Ryan, Jason, Emily, Eli and her great-granddaughter Willie-Ann.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph F. Harrington, brothers; William and Robert Stafford and her sisters-in-law; Eleanor and Mary. Also going on before her were her American sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.  

In Ireland, she leaves 11 nieces and nephews and ten living in the US all of whom she loved dearly. 

The family invites friends and relatives to a visitation at St. Patrick's Church on Monday, November 20 at 9am and a Mass of Christian Burial at 10am.


Family and friends who are unable to attend, may virtually attend via zoom by using the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85803275718?pwd=MWo2TkNoMUNoblc1ZER5NVNPNVUzZz09


Meeting ID: 858 0327 5718

Passcode: 806267


Interment will follow at the Milford Cemetery where Eileen and Joseph will rest among many friends.  

In Eileen's memory, have yourself some good Irish tea with boiling (not microwaved) water in a china cup untainted by coffee and a Jacob's biscuit or two.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Eileen's memory can be made to the Tri-State Pregnancy Center in Milford, PA; St. Joseph's Center in Scranton, PA or Annakissa Church, Killavullen, Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland. 

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