Many thanks to everyone who attended Ella's memorial service, or sent their condolences.
The program for the service is available here.
Here are the texts of (most of) the speaker's remarks:
Denise Brown, director of the Montclair High School Dance Company where Ella danced all through High School, dedicated this year's performance to Ella - see the dedication in the program.
The Macalester Theatre and Dance Department Spring Concert Program also dedicated the performance to Ella, and donated proceeds to her fund.
To try to say just a few things about my niece Ella isn't easy. Ella was always surprising me. She was a vegetarian who, on a recent visit to Chicago, waited for three hours in the blazing sun with her friends to try a hot dog at Hot Doug's, a famous local hot dog stand. She was a sweet and kind girl who liked edgy and subversive movies and music. Ella was her own unique blend of innocent and sophisticated, impish and serious, devoted to her familiar routines and curious about the whole wide world, madly in love with her family and friends and determined to figure out on her own exactly who she wanted to be. I will say just two things. The first is about the loss of the only girl in our family and what it means to me. The Bandes family doesn't produce many girls. I was the only girl of my generation, with my two adored brothers Ken and Ron, and seven boy cousins. And Ella was, on our side of the family, the only girl of her generation. We have our wonderful boys – Ken and Judy's Ian, Steve's and my Daniel and Andrew, Ron and Marcia's Mike and Steven – and Ella, my one and only niece. Ella was the most satisfying niece an aunt could ask for. Yes, she was good at neuroscience and psychology and anything else she put her mind to. But she also loved all the girl stuff. Judy and I got to take Ella to American Girl Place and sit in the tea parlor and sip tea with Ella and her doll, tucked into its own baby seat. And she loved those dolls – Judy and I talked so many times about how hard it was for Ella to leave her dolls behind when she went to college. And Ella was always delighted to go with family to see dance concerts and music – anything from the Nutcracker to South Pacific. And museums – when our families were in Italy together and our boys set a record for the hundred yard dash through the art museums, Ella sat there sketching Botticellis for hours. And she loved clothes and jewelry, though it was remarkably hard to buy her any, because her taste was definite but impossible for anyone but Ella to predict. Ella was a unique and darling girl, and you could so clearly see the lovely, ethical, accomplished woman she was on the brink of becoming.
The other thing I want to say to you, Ken and Judy and Ian, is that I've never seen a family with a greater gift for knowing how to cherish each other – to value and care for and just flat out enjoy each other. That is one of the things that make this loss so unfathomable. But I do believe with all my heart that this same gift – this love that binds your family together, this love that we in our extended family have for you, and the amazing outpouring of love I've witnessed from your community over these last terrible days – is the very thing that will help you make it through the difficult times ahead.