Ellen (McManus) Tenan


Ellen (McManus) Tenan died unexpectedly at her home in Cherryfield. She was born April 17, 1936, in Bangor to Francis “Tam” and Frances (Smith) McManus, the second of four children. The family moved back to Cherryfield at the outbreak of WWII to help her grandfather, LeRoy Smith, with his trucking business. Ellen attended Cherryfield schools, graduating as valedictorian from Cherryfield Academy in 1954.

She married her high school love, Neil Tenan, on June 25, 1954. They were married for nearly 63 years. She followed him to New Jersey, Ohio and Massachusetts during his Army basic training and two tours of service with the Signal Corps from 1959-1961. They then settled in Cherryfield permanently and in 1969 welcomed their only daughter, Emily.

She worked many jobs over the years, in retail, as a nanny, at JC Milliken Insurance Agency, as a seamstress, baking and decorating special occasion cakes and doing the bookkeeping for Neil’s construction business and commercial real estate, among others. She also spent over 10 years as director of quality control and manager of the rakers’ payroll office at Cherryfield Foods Inc.

Her greatest love was history and she found her calling when she became a docent at the Ruggles House in Columbia Falls, later joining the board of directors as the secretary/historian. She spearheaded the fundraising campaign and archaeological dig that allowed the ell of the house to be rebuilt. It was a relationship that lasted more than 35 years and many would say she had become the driving force behind the Ruggles House.

Ellen was also a charter member of the Cherryfield-Narraguagus Historical Society, a member of the Mayflower Society, served several years on the SAD 37 School Board, was a longtime member of the Cherryfield Planning Board and, most recently, was chairperson of the Cherryfield Budget Committee.

Her love of gardening was on display in the many flower gardens, vegetable garden, greenhouse and fruit trees around her home. She was an avid reader, mostly history and nonfiction. She read the newspapers every day and had several magazine subscriptions on history and travel. She loved to sew, making most of her own and her family’s clothes, including Emily’s wedding dress. She knit and had become a talented oil painter in her later years. She loved to travel, having visited most of the U.S., parts of Canada, Ireland, Scotland and England. Ireland was her favorite.

Ellen is survived by her daughter, Emily Tenan Lilienthal, of Thomaston, her brother, Paul, and his wife, Pamela, of Eddington, sisters-in-law Lois, Marita and Judith Tenan, all of Cherryfield, many nieces and nephews and their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, along with several cousins.

She was predeceased by her husband, her parents, her son-in-law Stephen Lilienthal, her sister Faye Lunt, her brother Linwood “Bub” McManus, brothers-in-law Adfer, Charles, Eugene and Victor Tenan and sisters-in-law Eileen Tenan and Mildred McManus.

A private committal will be held at the Morse Cemetery, Ridge Road, Cherryfield. A public memorial service will be held in the spring.

Donations in her memory can be made to the Ruggles House Society, P.O. Box 116, Columbia Falls, ME 04623 or to the Cherryfield-Narraguagus Historical Society, 88 River Road, Cherryfield, ME 04622. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.mcclurefamilyfuneral.com.

Know when to pay your respects.