Ellen Carol Gower, 81, of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, died peacefully on Friday, October 15, 2021, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston with her family by her side. Born on June 10, 1940, in Paterson, New Jersey, she was the beloved daughter of the late Byron and Emily (Oldenburg) Gower.
Ellen earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Swarthmore College, in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in the field of neuroscience from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thereafter, she established her own laboratory and continued her dissertation research on the neuroanatomy of the rhesus monkey, shedding light on how conduction of sensory information in certain areas of the brain may play a fundamental role in human and primate memory. She was affiliated with the Department of Neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine, the Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology at Tufts University, and the Boston Veterans Administration Medical Center.
For most of her adult life, Ellen was active in Boston’s musical community. She sang for several decades in the King’s Chapel Choir, and was a member of the Harvard Musical Association, where she played the viola and served as Orchestra Committee Chair. She also enjoyed playing her viola with informal chamber music groups.
A talented artist, Ellen focused in recent years on drawing, painting, and photography, especially of the natural world, and exhibited her work through the Jamaica Plain Artists Association and other local arts organizations. Always an independent spirit, she loved the Maine coast, gardening, cooking, opera and reading, and built an extensive personal library that reflected her intellectual curiosity and her passion for science, philosophy, and literature.
She is survived by her sister, Holly Gower Boots and her husband Jack of New Canaan, Connecticut, her nephew, Byron Boots and his wife Jamie of Seattle, Washington, and her cousins Noel, Colin, Elaine (Ed), and John.
Ellen’s burial was private, but a concert dedicated to her memory will be scheduled next fall at King’s Chapel in Boston.
Donations in her memory may be made to King’s Chapel Concert Series, 64 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108, the Menino Arts Center, 26 Central Avenue, Hyde Park, Massachusetts 02136, or Brigham and Women‘s Hospital, 116 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02116.