Caroline Drawdy Ellis died peacefully on April 1, 2018 in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was 86.
Mrs. Ellis was born on September 29, 1931, in Walterboro, South Carolina, to Narcissa and Cleveland Drawdy. The first of her family to head to college, she graduated from Oglethorpe University with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 1952, and she earned a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1983.
She married her college sweetheart, Robert L. Ellis, in 1952. They made their home in Chattanooga and Cleveland, where Caroline taught in a number of different schools. Caroline and Bob spent many hours antiquing with Aunt Mary Elizabeth, developing their collection of early American furniture and quality bric-a-brac. They raised two daughters, passing their love of education and antiques along to them both.
Mrs. Ellis was a creative educator with a passion for young children's literacy and self-expression. She shared her love of children’s books with her daughters, students, and grandchildren. She was an educational leader and a master teacher—she helped develop Tennessee's kindergarten programs, supported student teachers in their emerging practice, and worked every day to ensure that each child had a solid educational foundation.
She retired in 1993 from East Brainerd Elementary. She dedicated her retirement to enjoying her home, sharing her collection of beautiful antiques, socializing with friends, line dancing, traveling, and enjoying the adventures of her enterprising grandchildren, who dearly loved sharing their stories with their Nana.
She is preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and by her siblings, Betty Lou Drawdy, Cleveland Drawdy, Ta Evans, Larry Drawdy, and Marquita Ford.
Caroline is survived by her daughter Julie Ellis of Bowling Green, Kentucky; her daughter and son-in-law, Betsy and Michael Greer of Knoxville, Tennessee; her five grandchildren: Johnicholas Hines (Katie Allen) of New York, New York; Sarah Caroline Hines of Portland, Maine; Ellis Greer of Bloomington, Indiana; Lucy Greer and Anna Greer, both of Knoxville, Tennessee; her sister Marie Robertson of Columbia, South Carolina; and many friends and members of her extended family in both Tennessee and South Carolina.
A private graveside service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to The Caroline and Bob Ellis Book Fund for East Brainerd Elementary School. Donations may be sent to Betsy Greer, PO Box 11602, Knoxville, Tennessee 37939, with "Book Fund" on the memo line. Thank you!
Visit www.heritagechattanooga.com to share condolences with the family.
Visitation with her immediate family will be at Heritage Funeral Home (7454 E Brainerd Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421) from 12pm (noon) until 2pm on Friday.