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July 26, 1961 – April 19, 2014

Ellen “Dee” Sterns-Paquin, an occupational therapist, grandmother and golfer, died Saturday in Sisters Hospital after a short illness. She was 52.

Mrs. Sterns-Paquin, a City of Tonawanda resident, graduated from Williamsville East High School in 1979 and earned her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Utica College in 1983.

She married Rene Paquin in 1988.

After starting her career at Bry-Lin Hospital, she moved to Sisters Hospital, where she became chief of rehabilitation services.

In 1997, she joined her mother and brother David Sterns, a physical therapist, in the family-owned rehabilitation company Optimal Therapy Associate Services in Buffalo.

Mrs. Sterns-Paquin was the chief operating officer until the time of her death. “She loved to work with patients, particularly children,” said her mother, Gloria Lucker. “She was a real champion for kids with special needs.”

Survivors include her husband of 25 years; a stepson, Rick Paquin; her mother; two brothers, Fred and David Sterns; and two granddaughters.

A memorial service will be at 1:30 p.m. today in Mesnekoff Funeral Home, 8630 Transit Road, East Amherst.