Floral 13

Ellen V. McCauley

May 13, 1938 ~ August 22, 2021 (age 83)



Ellen V. McCauley of Alexandria, Va., passed away on August 22, 2021. She was 83.

Ellen was born May 13, 1938, in New York, N.Y., to John and Elizabeth (née Daly) McCauley. She graduated from D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1959 with a degree in chemistry and shortly afterward joined the Bureau of the Census as a digital computer programmer. After the 1960 census was complete, she went on to the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), the repository for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information for the U.S. Department of Defense, where she eventually became program manager for the Manpower and Training Research Information System (MATRIS) and director of the Information and Research and Technology Division. In 1985, Ellen completed the National Security Management program at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, which prepares selected military officers and civilians for senior national security leadership positions. She retired from the DTIC in 1993.

A devoted opera fan, Ellen volunteered as an educational docent with the Washington National Opera after her retirement, traveling to schools in the Washington area to share her love of the art form with students. As she told the Washington Post in 2000, “Music is something that can help children overcome anything. Opera is not an esoteric art form for old people.” She volunteered with the opera and the Friends of the Kennedy Center until 2017 in a wide variety of capacities, including giving tours of the costume studio, chauffeuring visiting performers, and helping start a web research team that assisted in writing biographies of musicians and other artists.

Ellen was an intrepid traveler who visited all seven continents and documented her journeys in photo albums, diaries, and needlepoint. She was known for her gourmet dinner parties, her nonstop reading, her meticulous needlework, and the copious amounts of holiday cookies she baked every year for her family, from snickerdoodles to reverse chocolate chip to Mexican wedding. She enjoyed P.G. Wodehouse, bridge, and a properly mixed martini.

Survivors include her brother, James McCauley (Gilda), of Hillsborough, N.J.; her nephew, John McCauley (Sara Shay), of Maple Glen, Pa.; her niece, Rose McCauley (Paul Troiano), of Whippany, N.J.; and her much-loved great-nephews Jacob McCauley, Alexander McCauley, and James Troiano and great-niece, Erin Troiano.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Ellen’s memory may be made to the Washington National Opera or the Capital Area Food Bank.  


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