Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Melanie Creamer firstname.lastname@example.org
YARMOUTH -- Ellen Moulton, a well-respected psychiatric nurse at Maine Medical Center and Mid Coast Hospital who dedicated her life to helping people with mental illness, died Saturday after a long and brave battle with cancer. She was 66.
Ellen Moulton and her sons Peter Krauss, left, and Stephen Krauss. "She did everything and anything" for us, Peter said.
Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.
Ms. Moulton was a mental health nurse practitioner at Maine Med in Portland for 30 years. At the same time, she worked part time as a registered nurse at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick. There, she was a psychiatric nurse in the hospital's behavioral health inpatient unit for 20 years.
Lois Skillings, president and chief executive officer of Mid Coast Hospital, said Tuesday that Ms. Moulton was an advocate for people with mental illness. She was an amazing nurse and nursing leader, she said.
"She was the kind of nurse that young nurses looked up to because she was so calm, caring and smart," Skillings said. "In her quiet way, she influenced nurses, physicians and administrative colleagues to find better ways to improve nursing care. She was really loved by everyone on the team."
Ms. Moulton grew up in Yarmouth and graduated from Yarmouth High School in 1964. Her interest in nursing began as a teenager when she volunteered as a candy striper at Maine Med.
She had a lifelong love of learning. Her obituary features a list of six colleges and universities that she attended to pursue different kinds of degrees in nursing and education. She also attended Bangor Theological Seminary for post-graduate studies in advanced practices in psychiatric nursing.
Ms. Moulton's success didn't come easily. In her early years, she juggled work and school while raising her two children.
Her son, Peter "Chip" Krauss of New Gloucester, said she was a devoted mother who worked hard and made a lot of sacrifices to give them a good life. He said his mother dedicated her life to her family and her patients.
"She was a great mom," Krauss said. "She did everything and anything for myself and my brother. We were priority number one, always."
Krauss talked about his mother's role in the family -- how she was the person everyone went to for support and guidance. She organized and hosted holiday gatherings and birthday celebrations. Even while she was at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, Ms. Moulton asked her family to visit so she could celebrate her niece's birthday with them.
"She was the one who kept the family together. It made her very happy to have family functions," Krauss said. "Those are the things that gave her life. She thrived on it."
Ms. Moulton also was remembered as a charismatic and outgoing woman who had a passion for golf, tennis, camping and swimming. She had two cats that she loved.
In October 2003, Ms. Moulton was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. In a video posted on YouTube in October 2010, Ms. Moulton explained how she learned about her cancer while seeing a doctor for back pain. The doctor sent her for an MRI and he later told her she had cancer. Soon after, she had a bilateral mastectomy and radiation treatment.
In the video, Ms. Moulton talks about the support she received from her family and friends, then offered support to those struggling with cancer.
"I am not a videotaping kind of gal," she said in the video. "I am not comfortable in front of the camera, but if there's anything I say or anything I do that can be helpful to someone else, I'm all for it. If people want to call me, I'm in the phone book. I'll answer questions talk to anybody. I'm totally convinced that I am going to conquer this disease. No matter what it does to me, I'm going to keep on going till I can't go on any more."
Throughout her illness, Ms. Moulton worked at both hospitals as often as she could. In 2010, she was recognized at the Maine Cancer Foundation's Cure Breast Cancer for ME luncheon. She was the featured speaker that year.
"My sister was one of the most courageous people I have ever known," said Martha Maguire of Yarmouth. "She did not let cancer control her. She was just amazing."
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: