Ellsworth Thorndike

Obituary of Ellsworth Bacon Thorndike

Ellsworth Bacon Thorndike, 82, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on January 2, 2022. He was born to Ellsworth Bacon Thorndike, Sr. and Eleanor (Riley) Thorndike on October 13,1939 in Englewood, New Jersey.


Ellsworth is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Elaine (Oakerson) Thorndike; his four children, Eric Thorndike (Dianne), Kimberly Banks, William Thorndike and Elissa Thorndike; seven grandchildren, Meghan Zechmeister (Zachary), Erin Thorndike, Christopher Banks, Leigha Banks, Madeline Wells, Evan Foster and Emelia Foster; great-grandson Beckham Wells; sister Joan McCue; brother Peter Thorndike (Jane); and many loving nieces and nephews.  


He received his Bachelor of Science from Rutgers University and his Veterinary Medical Degree (VMD) from the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1964. After an internship at the Henry Berg Memorial Hospital in New York City, he was hired as an associate and soon became a partner at Miller and Clark Animal Hospital, Mamaroneck, NY.  Ellsworth was known for his witty humor, gentle patience and love of animals.


Ellsworth gave back much to the Veterinary Community.  He served on the Board of the Westchester Shore Humane Society and was an active member of the Westchester Rockland Veterinary Association where he was highly respected for his intelligence and ethical approach to professional issues. In 1989, he was a driving force in establishing The Veterinary Emergency Group in White Plains, NY, the only facility in the county providing after hours care for sick and injured pets.  He was appointed to the NY State Education Dept. Board for Veterinary Medicine, served two five year terms and was elected President.


After retiring, Ellsworth and Elaine moved to New York City where he went to work for NYC Animal Care and Control, riding his Vespa to far flung neighborhoods throughout the city to provide spay-neuter services for underserved communities. It was this position that brought him the most joy.


When Ellsworth was not tending to his hospital patients or caring for all the wildlife in the neighborhood, you would likely find him puttering around on his boat.  While it wasn't big or fancy, it was all he needed and he took great pride in it.  One of his biggest joys in life came from sharing his love of fishing on the Long Island Sound with his children and grand-children. Later in life, he eventually taught himself to build a boat.  He was an avid lover of nature and had quite a green thumb, which he put to use while creating our beautiful gardens every spring.  He spent many summers at the shore where he spent his days birdwatching, surf-fishing, grilling or just relaxing with his nose in a book, his  feet in the sand and his family close by his side. 


Ellsworth had many great adventures traveling around the world with Elaine. Most memorable for him was a trip to Africa where he happily stitched up a fellow traveler who fell off an elephant, the Galápagos Islands where he witnessed the history and creatures that helped Darwin formulate his theory of natural selection and Peru where he was mesmerized by the soaring condors and participated in a shamen ritual high in the Andean mountains.


Until just seven years ago, Ellsworth also enjoyed playing tennis multiple times a week.  It was the disease known as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) that took his peripheral vision away.  This early sign helped lead to his diagnosis.  As the ever inquisitive scientist, he quickly joined a new drug trial to gather as much data in hopes of gaining insight and answers for those who suffer from this disease.  


In lieu of flowers, donations in Ellsworth’s name may be sent to CurePSP at www.psp.org

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