Elizabeth Ellen Lopez (McCaleb) slipped peacefully away on Sunday, July 5, 2020 at the age of 64.
A Phoenix native and lifelong resident, Ellen was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital on September 20, 1955, to John D. McCaleb and Elizabeth Ann “Betty” McCaleb (later Murphy). Her first marriage gave her two children: Justin in 1979, and Beth in 1981. She loved her children dearly and made sure everyone knew it. In 1994, Ellen married Andrew Steve Lopez, who would be her partner and constant companion for the rest of her life. In 1999, she achieved a lifelong dream when she earned a nursing degree from Phoenix College, graduating at the top of her class, and eventually becoming the Director of Nursing at several Valley clinics.
With her big, generous heart, and quick-witted sense of humor, Ellen tended to make a big impact on those who knew her. Not one for small talk, she left many with the impression that even the smallest interaction could be meaningful. She was a hero and mentor to many, and fought fearlessly for what was right, including years of political activism and anti-war protest. Her love of dogs is also well known, having rescued, and provided a home for dozens of them over the years. Her selfless spirit led her to often think in terms of how she could help others, leaving a legacy of generosity, strength, and compassion. She would sometimes express her philosophy on life using a quote from her favorite band, The Beatles: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Certainly, the love she brought to this world will be felt for generations to come.
Ellen was preceded in death by her parents, and her beloved sister Susan. She is survived by her brother, John, her husband, Steve, her two children (and their spouses) Justin (and Erin) Ison, Beth (and Shane) Deegan, and the newest apple of her eye, her granddaughter Dottie. She will be deeply missed.
The family suggests donations be made in her memory to www.azhumane.org or www.homewardboundaz.org
Condolences and Hugs from Home may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com
I am so saddened to hear this and my heart and prayers go out to all of you. I had the joy of working with Ellen for 8 years at Southwestern Eye Center. She was an amazing, sweet, wonderful lady and I will miss her dearly.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Lopez family. I worked with Ellen many years ago at SWEC. Such a sweet and kind sole. Rest easy my friend until we meet again.
Ellen was so beautiful and I see her in Beth and Dottie every time I look at them. I didn’t know how much she loved dogs and I’m sure she would have loved Hobbes joining the Deegan family! Sending all of you so much love. I hate to say “during this time” because it’s ongoing, but it does eventually become bearable. My thoughts and support are with all of you ❤️
I feel so sad to hear this news. My thoughts & prayers to the entire family. Her memories will live on. She will never be forgotten. Such a very kind, sweet woman. You were such a joy to see in the hallways of Southwestern Eyes Center. She will be missed. An angel of God.
My dear friend, you will forever smile that beautiful smile you shared with everyone you came into contact with….I close my eyes and still see you in those blue scrubs ….Rest in Peace Ellen…you will be missed by many… My sincere condolences to her Family…….
I worked with Ellen for years at Southwestern Eye Center. She was the most welcoming person I ever knew
I’d say that was the best way to describe her. She made everyone feel like the most important person she knew
My prayers for peace and comfort are with all of you, her family.
I am so sorry for your loss my heart to is breaking with yours. I was so lucky to have worked with her at SWE in Mesa she was so kind, a great teacher, easy to talk to and her smile always made me fell so good , I will miss her but to know a new Angel see watching over us with her smile I will look up and smile back!
I am so sad about Ellen’s passing. I had only known her for a little more than 10 years, after Justin came into my daughter Erin’s life. She was sweet, smart and kind, and had a great sense of humor. Just a delight to be around! I am especially grateful that she was a wonderful mother-in-law and friend to Erin. She will be missed by everyone who knew her, but now has a new role as Guardian Angel to the loved ones she left behind.
My heart breaks and words do not describe what an amazing strong woman! You inspired many people and my prayers go out to your entire family. You will be missed and always in our heart.
I was so shocked and heartbroken to hear this. She was such a beautiful soul who always greeted you with a smile. Worked with her for many many years through at least two asc’s. A wonderful person who will be deeply missed. Thoughts and prayers to your family. God bless!
I loved Ellen she taught me so much. to build up other women and fight for what you believe in. In all you do help out your fellow humans.
Laura Patton DON/ Scottsdale Eye Surgery Center
I am so shocked and sadden by the news, mdeepest condolences to your family, you were a great nurse and a great DON, I was lucky to have met you and participate in many meetings with you, you will be greatly missed friend.
I can’t even begin to describe the impact Ellen had on my life. She was my dear older cousin by one year, and , even as a child, she embodied the love, compassion, and kindness described in other posts. From my earliest memory, she always stood up for what she believed was right as she worked to make the playground, the neighborhood, the community and eventually the world a more just and fair place for all. From my knobby kneed cousin with pigtails to the strong and compassionate mother, wife and nurse she became, she influenced so many of my choices: moral and professional. I followed her into nursing later in life based on her influence and was so honored to take my professional oath knowing I was joining her in the profession. Ellen was so much fun, and as we all know, hysterically funny. Her wit was quick and spot on. How many of us don’t remember an Ellen story or witticism that doesn’t make us smile and chuckle just a little if not a lot? I’ll forever miss the cadence and tone of her voice and laugh, her kilowatt smile, her strength and conviction, and the love she gave and exemplified to all of us. I was so lucky to have her as life hero and mentor. Rest well, sweet cuz’.
When I think of Ellen, I not only think of her as a dear close friend but family. She made a big impression and impact on me since first meeting her and over the subsequent years. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for her and vice versa. We shared a love not only for dogs but all animals, I was amazed and impressed how she could keep up with all their names. I was glad to know someone who was friendly, caring, loving, giving, and encouraging. No matter what it was she always wanted you to push higher, be better. She made me laugh with her stories, and I enjoyed our lunches we shared together. I will always carry a special place in my heart for her, she will be dearly missed. Love you Ellen and hope you are at peace now, you will be missed.
Ellen was my very best friend. I loved her with my heart and soul. She was kind, and loving and she was straight forward and honest. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She picked up my broken pieces and put them back together more than once. She made me feel safe and smart and worthy of my dreams. I am a better person because of her. She had a great sense of humor and a great laugh. My heart is hurting so bad and I am having a hard time picturing my life without Ellen in it but I know she is with me always. My love and sympathy to Beth and Justin and their families, Steve, her fur babies, and all who knew her and the wonderful person she was. Rest with angels my friend until we meet again. I will always be “purple” for you!
To a wonderful! Woman who I had a short privilege of knowing. Ellen and I had a connection the very first day she interviewed me. Who would have known that 3 years later she would be gone. See you on the other side