Meet Ellen Turbow

by Jan Whitmer
12/2009

When Ellen Turbow was asked to join the Environmental Volunteers Board last year, she also decided to become an Environmental Volunteers docent. She has thoroughly enjoyed the work, as she loves the outdoors and loves sharing her enthusiasm with young people. An estate planning attorney for 25 years, Ellen retired about 10 years ago and is busier than ever! In addition to the Environmental Volunteers Board, she serves on the Board of Abilities United, a nonprofit for children and adults with developmental disabilities and on the Public Issues Committee for Jewish Family and Children’s Services, working on advocacy for children with special needs. In addition, Ellen is on the Advisory Board for the Palo Alto Community Fund, which supports the work of nonprofits serving the area. Whew!

Ellen grew up in the Los Angeles area, went to Stanford University, and, as she puts it, “I never went back!” She and her husband Mike, a retired physician, have 2 sons, who live in the area, and 2 grandchildren. Ellen began her professional life as a high school English teacher, but decided, after several years, that it wasn’t her cup of tea. She also worked for a time in the Community Action Program (part of the Great Society program’s War on Poverty) where she became interested in the law.

As far as avocations go, travel is an abiding interest for Ellen. She and Mike’s trips have taken them to diverse parts of the globe, including China, India, Morocco, and Myanmar. However, her favorite destination will always be Italy. Ellen also loves to hike, and trekking in the hinterlands is often a part of their travels. Another passion for Ellen is cooking. Environmental Volunteers enjoyed her pasta timbale, a smash hit at the annual meeting. And imagine this: she recently prepared dinner for 24 friends in celebration of Mike’s 70th birthday! Gardening and love of music round out the varied interests of this busy woman. Ellen’s hoping to begin writing short stories again; she’s previously won several prizes in the Palo Alto Weekly’s writing contests.

Recently, the Turbows played B and B owners, as they entertained winners of their Wild Crush auction item: a few nights at their house in Carmel during the Bach Festival. Thank you, Ellen, for your generosity and commitment!


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