Ellen Talhaber Prouty passed peacefully in her sleep at age 94 on January 7, 2022 at The Manor in Morrisville. She was born in Geneva, Switzerland on September 10, 1927, and attended the International School of Geneva until World War II forced the family to leave the country.
The family’s vacation house in Kitzbühel, Austria became their year-round home after the war. From a young age, Ellen enjoyed skiing, hiking and horseback riding with her father. She returned to Switzerland to study at the University of Geneva, where she earned her Master’s degree in Economics. After graduating, she was employed by ALCAN in Geneva and in 1955 accepted a position in the company’s NYC office.
She met her future husband George (Jed) Prouty at the party of a mutual friend. They shared a love of the mountains, and an invitation (or a few) to his Stowe ski chalet on the Mountain Road launched their union. They married in Innsbruck, Austria and, fittingly, honeymooned in the ski resort of St. Anton.
Once settled in Stowe, Ellen and Jed built two rental chalets and welcomed many returning guests turned friends. Ellen’s passion for vegetable and especially flower gardening took root here, and over time she became known among family and friends as the composting queen – her rich garden soil was legendary and yielded beautiful beds and bountiful harvests. She was also an avid mushroom hunter and wonderful home cook.
She was a bookkeeper for Van Blarcom and Harrison for 19 years; a part-time gardener and bookkeeper for Stoweflake Mountain Resort, and bookkeeper for Stowe Family Dentistry. Once Ellen’s four children shipped out, Ellen finally had time to take up other pursuits, including yoga, meditation and dreamwork.
In 1998, Ellen and Jed sold their Stowe home of 40+ years and moved into an apartment built onto their daughter’s and son-in-law’s home in Johnson. With this move, Ellen was able to more fully devote herself to her flower gardens – up to six or eight hours a day – much to the enjoyment of neighbors jogging or walking by. And, as her son-in-law Eric would quip, she sure increased the property value! She redoubled her efforts when invited to be a featured stop on the Lamoille Valley Garden Tour one summer.
Watercolor painting turned into another hobby and expression of Ellen’s love of the mountains in her 70s. Her friend Rose Marie Carruth took her on scenic driving tours, and Ellen would paint from the landscape photos she took on those rides. To hone her skills, she joined a weekly painting group in Johnson, walking the mile and a half downtown, carrying her rucksack of painting supplies. Numerous times a neighbor would stop to ask Ellen if she’d like a lift up the steep hill on her way home. To which she inevitably replied, “Oh no, thank you, this is my favorite part!”
With her dedicated hiking friend Lynn Jeffery, Ellen explored many local mountains and made several hiking trips to the Austrian and Italian Alps, her last one taken when she was 85 years old. She cross-country skied into her late 80s and treasured skiing and lake visits with her cousin Joan Argentero as recently as her last birthday in September. Reading groups, chamber concerts and Met operas, along with foraging and quantum physics study with her friend Ed Salvas, rounded out her activities.
Throughout, Ellen was devoted to family, supporting their (ad)ventures, being the perfect next-door Mimi, but never intrusive. She loved to listen to her granddaughters play cello and piano, and thrilled to watch her grandson ski jumping on ever bigger hills. As her dementia progressed, she delighted in observing her great-grandchildren playing around her and receiving their hugs. She was ever humble, kind and thoughtful and radiated calm, loving warmth.
Ellen leaves behind her four children, Ingrid Nuse (Eric), Eric, Rolf (Freda) and Hans; three grandchildren, Liana Nuse, Maya Prouty and Landon Livreri; four step-grandchildren, Anna (J), Kyle (Michael), Kim and Zachary (Emily); and five step-great-grandchildren, Asha, Olive, Pepper, Katherine and Hudson. Her husband Jed predeceased her.
The family is grateful for the good care she received at Forest Hill and The Manor, as well as that of caregivers Mel, Carol and Cindy during the past year that she was at home.
A memorial hike with family and friends is planned for this spring. Memories and condolences are welcome at www.dgfunerals.com.
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