Ellen O. Jonassen

April 10, 1949March 15, 2013

Ellen Osterbind Jonassen ( written by the deceased prior to her death ) passed away at home on March 15, 2013 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Ellen was born on April 10, 1949 to Rose and Carter Osterbind in Arlington, Virginia. She is survived by her devoted husband of almost forty years, William S.(Bill) Jonassen of Belleair Beach, FL. who provided her unlimited support and comfort during her illness. Bill could not have done more for her, always aware of her every need, and allowing her to discuss anything, no matter how painful. She is also survived by her son, William S. Jonassen, IV of Belleair Beach and her daughter, Rosilie Jonassen Harkeli of Jacksonville, FL. Other survivors include her brother, Carter Clarke Osterbind of Jacksonville, Alabama his wife Kelly and their six children, Reilly, Mary, Walter, Tom, Audrey and Sharon and her brother in law J. Louis Saffos of Jacksonville, FL. Ellen moved to Gainesville, Florida when she was one years old when her father Carter accepted a position as an Economics Professor at the University of Florida. She grew up in Gainesville and lived there until her marriage. Ellen attended Rhodes College in Memphis and graduated with honors. At Rhodes she was active in many organizations and was Vice President of Delta Delta Delta sorority and a member of Mortar Board Women’s Leadership Fraternity. She received a National Defense Education Act Fellowship to the University of Florida and received her Ph.D in 1975. In December of 1973 she married her husband Bill and they moved to Clearwater where he began practicing law. After finishing up work on her Ph.D., she was on the staff at St. Petersburg College, and later was a Counselor in the Career and Personal Counseling Center at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. After receiving her Psychologist’s license she went into a private practice in Psychology with several local Psychologists, and eventually went into a solo practice on her own for twenty-five years. Ellen had many interests. Before their children were born, Ellen and Bill spent countless hours restoring and rebuilding many larger sail and power boats. She continued with boating as a family, taking numerous trips on their boats to the Southwest coast of Florida from here to Key West. Her children were forced to endure “nature walks” on these and other trips around the country. She also enjoyed reading and had the pleasure of belonging to a local book club which was made up of many caring friends. Ellen also loved playing tennis which she took up in her late 40’s. Although not especially skilled, often occupying the lowest position on the team, she enjoyed it immensely and was on several leagues acting as Captain on some of the teams. One of her greatest joys was acting as the non-playing captain of Belleair 2 when she could no longer play. Through tennis she also made many wonderful friends. Ellen also had a life long enjoyment of popular music. Locally she was also a Sustainer in the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin.

Ellen was preceded in death by her father, Carter Clarke Osterbind, PhD., her mother Rosilie(Rose) Hutcheson Osterbind, and her sister, Rosilie Osterbind Saffos, MD.

Ellen wants to thank her many caring and loving friends who were so supportive during her illness. She especially wants to thank her closest friend of over 50 years, Judge Elizabeth (Libby) Jenkins of Tampa who was just great and always trying to come up with a book, idea, activity or anything she thought might be helpful in dealing with Ellen’s illness. Also, she would like to thank Moffitt Cancer Center and her oncologist, Susan Minton, DO, her nurse Vicky Trallo and all of the staff at Moffitt International. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Moffitt International in the name of Dr. Minton and Mrs. Trallo or please take yourself out to dinner and have a good time with family and friends.


  • Visitation Sunday, March 17, 2013
  • Memorial Service Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ellen O. Jonassen

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March 20, 2013

Bill and family, Our dearest condolences. We were greatly sadden to hear of the passing of your loving wife, Ellen. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and all the members of your family. Leeanne & Thomas E. Penick, Jr.

Meme Hieneman

March 20, 2013

As a member of the "breakfast club" that met monthly the last few years of Ellen's life, I will miss her dearly. Regardless of what Ellen was facing, she was always able to express concern for others and count her blessings. Ellen had a wonderful combination of realism and optimism. She loved Bill and her children dearly and often spoke of her friends' support. I am thankful to have enjoyed Ellen's friendship and still feel her presence in my life.

March 19, 2013

My sincere condolences to Bill and Rosalee and Will. I know that as a Mother Ellen would not want to miss a minute with her children and the grandbabies to come. She was a lovely happy woman and I respected her greatly. God bless you all and my thoughts and prayers are with you!
Bobbie Kahler

March 19, 2013

We are new neighbors to Helen and Bill. It was a pleasure meeting Helen while she walked Nacho. Reading about Helen, she was a very special person to many. Our hearts are very heavy with sadness. May God have mercy and may He bless her family. Bob and Luc

Gerald Greene

March 19, 2013

I have known Ellen since we were classmates at J. J. Finley elementary school in Gainesville, Florida. I remember all the wonderful visits that I had at her home. She will be greatly missed and left a tremendous legacy of accomplishments and contributions. We will all miss you dear Ellen.

Joyce S Baskin

March 18, 2013

I know that it is very difficult to lose a loved one. Ellen was a wonderful, kind and caring individual that should be remembered in that manner. She fought long and hard with a smile to those who knew and loved her. God Bless the family. I have known them for over 30 years.

March 18, 2013

Fred and I remember Ellen well when she was on my ADVANTAGE LEAGE out of Southwest for several years, way in the beginning of her cancer journey. Whenever I saw Val Halgren (last time two weeks ago) I would inquire about her. Val said "she is weak but hanging in there."

She was a very fine lady and, yet, very down to earth and fun !!

Lynn Hesse

Pam Sedlacek

March 18, 2013

I have been so blessed to have known Ellen the pass few years as a friend. She was such an amazing person who will always be in my heart. Warmth and love to her family and all her many,many friends. Pam Sedlacek (Safety Harbor, Fl)

Carl Gavine

March 18, 2013

Heartbroken to learn of the passing of Ellen. For many years Ellen was one of the most popular members of our tennis family at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort and even captained one of our teams on the Advantage League. She will be greatly missed by all of her many friends. I would like to send my condolences to all her family. Ellen, you will always be an ace to us here and in Tennis Heaven.
Carl Gavine (former Tennis Director at the Sheraton Sand Key)

Randy Greene

March 18, 2013

Ellen was my classmate and friend at Gainesville High School and just a wonderful person. She was my beautiful Senior Prom date in 1967. Our last meeting was at our 2012 45th Reunion when we learned that her cancer was no longer in remission. She was as upbeat as ever, and determined to beat it. It is a tragedy that we have lost her. My deepest sympathy and condolences to her family.