Our beloved Ellen Marie O'Brien, 56, passed away Friday evening, December 12th at 9:30pm of a severe heart attack at Torrance Memorial. Born in Maple Park, IL to Virgil and Mary Ellen Grzywa on October 15th, Ellen had the ability to bring a smile to everyone's face. Her compassion for people brought her to the hospice program at Torrance Memorial where later on she became the Head Hospice Coordinator; a job she truly loved! She was one of the coordinators for the yearly "Light up a life" and "Motherless Daughters" celebrations, which so many people from the South Bay and surrounding areas looked forward to. She was a woman with an amazing sense of humor, always smiling, and always looking at the very best in people. She is survived by her husband Jim, daughters Heather and Katherine, and son Jacob. Services will be held on Wednesday, December 17th at Rice Mortuary, in Torrance from 5-9pm, with a Rosary service at 7pm. The funeral will be held on Saturday, December 20th in Maple Park, Illinois where she will be buried in the family cemetery.

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Memories Timeline

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  1. Jim, Jake, Katie & Heather, We have wonderful memories of Ellen when you joined us Christmas Eve a couple of years ago. May God give you peace. Love and prayers from us all

  2. Ellen, the kindest friend I’ve ever have…You always see good things in people and always look at everything and everyone with positive attitude. I miss talking and laughing with you.

  3. Dear Jim, Heather, Katherine and Jacob, As a Hospice Volunteer, it was a privilege to work with Ellen these past few years. Her dedicated compassion for people, endless energy, and above all her devotion to you her family made her a very special person to all who knew her. She will be greatly missed as she was greatly loved. Our heartfelt sympathies to all of you, Jeanie and George Pelzman

  4. Ellen was the Hospice Volunteer Coordinator at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. I had the privilege of being a volunteer in the program under Ellen’s guidance. She worked tirelessly to provide hospice services to families in need and to coordinate the annual Light Up A Life Event and Motherless Daughter Tea that meant so much to so many. Her generosity of spirit, compassion for others & tireless dedication were an inspiration to all of us who knew her. We became more as a result of having Ellen in our lives. Her presence will be sorely missed, but she will live on in our hearts forever. To her family that she loved so very much, I send my sincere sympathy.

  5. Thank you Ellen for all the miles and miles of smiles. Telling stories of your family,all the jobs you did so effortlessly at TMMC, you did it all with a smile. I am blessed because of knowing you. I am saddened now by your sudden departure but the memory of your smile will hasten the healing of our hearts. I send God’s love and light to heal the hearts of your family.

  6. Oh,my what can one say at a time such as this? Ellen will be TRULY MISSED. I am one of Ellen’s volunteer’s, and we had such a great time. She was a nice lady and always had a great sense of humor, and surely loved her football. I was so shocked to hear of her passing, as was many. SHE WILL BE MISSED SO MUCH!!!! My sincere condolences to the O’Brien Family. I wish I could ease your pain. Sincerely,

  7. Ellen touched my heart and soul the first time we met. She seemed to have endless energy and always knew the right words to say. She had qualities of what seemed to be unending patience and acceptance. I was honored to have known and worked with her and the volunteer team at Torrance Hospice. She made a difference in the lives of many, including mine. She will be missed

  8. I was so saddened to hear of Ellen’s passing. I was out of the country or I surely would have been at the services. It was a privilege to have known Ellen. She was truly a remarkable lady. I am one of her volunteers at TMMC.

  9. I miss you so much mom. Not a day goes by I don’t think about you. I love you and wish you were still here to make me smile…I’d do anything for one more of your loving smiles and hugs.

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