Obituary of Ellsworth Bacon Thorndike (1939 – 2022) – Falls Church, VA


Ellsworth Bacon Thorndike obituary
Ellsworth Bacon Thorndike, 82, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on January 2, 2022. He was born to Ellsworth Bacon Thorndike, Sr. and Eleanor (Riley) Thorndike on October 13, 1939 in Englewood, New Jersey.
Ellsworth is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Elaine (Oakerson) Thorndike; her four children, Eric Thorndike (Dianne), Kimberly Banks, William Thorndike and Elissa Thorndike; seven grandchildren, Meghan Zechmeister (Zachary), Erin Thorndike, Christopher Banks, Leigha Banks, Madeline Wells, Evan Foster and Emelia Foster; great-grandson Beckham Wells; sister Joan McCue; brother Peter Thorndike (Jane); and several beloved nieces and nephews.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University and his Veterinary Medicine Degree (VMD) from the University of Pennsylvania, class of 1964. After an internship at the Henry Berg Memorial Hospital in New York, he was hired as a ‘associate and soon became a partner at Miller and Clark Animal Hospital, Mamaroneck, NY. Ellsworth was known for his witty humor, gentle patience, and love of animals.
Ellsworth has given back to the veterinary community a great deal. He served on the board of directors of the Westchester Shore Humane Society and was an active member of the Westchester Rockland Veterinary Association, where he was widely respected for his intelligence and ethical approach to professional issues. In 1989, he was instrumental in establishing the Veterinary Emergency Group in White Plains, NY, the only facility in the county to provide after-hours care for sick and injured animals. He was appointed to the board of directors of the New York State Department of Education for Veterinary Medicine, served two five-year terms and was elected president.
After retiring, Ellsworth and Elaine moved to New York City where he went to work for NYC Animal Care and Control, riding his Vespa to remote areas of the city to provide sterilization services to underserved communities. It was this position that brought him the most joy.
When Ellsworth wasn’t tending to his inpatients or looking after all the wildlife in the neighborhood, you would likely find him roaming around on his boat. Even though it wasn’t big or fancy, it was all he needed and he was very proud of it. One of her greatest joys in life is sharing her love of Long Island Strait fishing with her children and grandchildren. Later in life he finally learned to build a boat. He was a great lover of nature and had a green thumb, which he used to create our beautiful gardens each spring. He spent many summers on the shore where he spent his days birding, surf fishing, barbecuing or just relaxing with his nose in a book, his feet in the sand and his family at his sides.
Ellsworth has had many great adventures traveling the world with Elaine. Most memorable for him was a trip to Africa where he happily sewn a traveling companion who fell from an elephant, the Galapagos Islands where he witnessed the history and creatures that helped Darwin formulate his theory of natural selection and Peru where he was mesmerized by the soaring condors and participated in a shameful ritual in the Andean mountains.
Until just seven years ago, Ellsworth also enjoyed playing tennis several times a week. It was the disease known as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) that took away his peripheral vision. This early sign contributed to his diagnosis. As an ever-curious scientist, he quickly joined a new drug trial to collect so much data in the hopes of obtaining information and answers for those suffering from the disease.
In lieu of flowers, donations on behalf of Ellsworth can be sent to CurePSP at

Posted by Advent Funeral Home – Falls Church on Jan 11, 2022.


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