OBITUARY: Ellen Marie ‘Sissy’ Holder, 66

A resident of Marblehead, Ellen Holder was born Nov. 6, 1956, in Philadelphia. She died peacefully, surrounded by family, on Feb. 22, 2023, after a valiant battle against Aspergillosis.

Ellen ‘Sissy’ Holder

Holder was the daughter of Robert Francis Mattson Sr. (deceased) of East Boston and Dorothy Mae (West) Mattson of Beverly.

She is survived by her husband of 47 years, Paul Donald Holder; her eldest son, Jason Paul Holder, and his wife, Elaine, and their children, Anthony, Ethan, Devorah and Nathanial; and her youngest son, Geoffery Donald Holder, his wife, Diane, and their daughter, Kaitlyn.

Holder is also survived by her brothers, Robert Francis Mattson Jr. and his wife, Donna (Webber) Mattson; David Mattson; Michael Mattson and Richard Mattson. Holder was predeceased by two brothers, Charles Mattson and Daniel Mattson.

In her younger years, Holder liked to go candlepin bowling, play horseshoes and dance. She thoroughly enjoyed these activities, especially dancing, until rheumatoid arthritis began making these activities more and more painful. She also continued to enjoy gardening, cooking and making a home for her family.

Holder was known for her wonderful laugh and ready smile. She loved animals, with a special affinity for strays, several of which she took in and made a home for as the family pet.

She liked to entertain house guests, hated the cleanup the next day and her last words to many guests as they left were “here, take this with you,” which could refer to anything from leftover food to jewelry or any number of small items that she wanted her guests to have. She was truly a loving and giving woman of great tolerance, but if pushed beyond the limit of her tolerance, which took some doing … watch out.

Her family would like to say a special thank you to the doctors and nurses of the Salem Hospital ICU for the special care they provided to Ellen in her final months. 

Her husband pleads with anyone who is immunosuppressed or knows someone who is immunosuppressed to please wear a mask capable of filtering mold spores when gardening or doing any activity where mold spores could be present in abundance.

Holder’s wake/viewing will be held at the Murphy Funeral Home, 85 Federal St., Salem, on Wednesday, March 1. Viewing hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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