Donna Ellis
Donna Ellis (Baltimore Sun)

Donna Ellis, a longtime writer for the Columbia Flier and other publications, died of pneumonia April 23 at Howard County General Hospital. She was 72 and lived in Columbia.

Born Donna Louise Griffith in Lynn, Mass., she earned an English literature degree at Northeastern University.


"She had a dream of becoming a translator at the United Nations," said her daughter, Karen Ellis, who lives in London, England.

She taught French and Spanish while living in Florida in the 1960s and after moving to Columbia in 1973, she started writing for the Columbia Flier.

"She had wonderful writing style. She was a warm writer and wrote in an accessible way that encouraged cooks," said Jean Moon, former general manager of Patuxent Publishing and president of her own public relations firm. "I still have tattered clipping of recipes I still make of hers. These recipes become family favorites. At the paper, she was universally liked. It was a pleasure to have a conversation with her."

She worked for Patuxent Publishing and her weekly articles were printed in 13 of its community papers that were distributed from Perry Hall to Laurel. She wrote a humor column, a food preparation article and ran a recipe exchange.

"She wrote in an Erma Bombeck style, a slice of her daily life," her daughter said. "She wrote about the funny things that went on in our family and friends."

Her food and recipe articles were often drawn from her travels throughout the world. Family members said she was an accomplished cook. She also prepared three meals a day at her home, including breakfasts for her three daughters. She also packed bountiful school lunches.

Most recently, Ms. Ellis also wrote Howard Magazine restaurant reviews.

She later founded her own jewelry business she named Angel Friends. She made pins from filigreed parts and sold them at craft shows. She often donated part of her proceeds to local charities.

Services are private.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include her husband of five years, Paul Green; two other daughters, Elizabeth Ellis and Deborah Ellis, both of Columbia; a brother, Timothy Griffith of Delray Beach, Fla.; a sister, Christine Knight of Danvers, Mass.; a stepson, Scott Green of San Diego, Calif.; and a stepdaughter, Terry Green of Raleigh, N.C.