Mary Louis Haywood Ellis, 95, a resident of Croasdaile Village Retirement Community in Durham passed away Friday, November 16, 2012 at home. She was born in Trenton, N.C., to the late Ruth Brickhouse and Simmons Herritage Haywood. She was widowed by the late Phil W. Ellis. She is survived by her son, Richard W. (Dick) Ellis (Evelyn) of Apex; daughters Diane Millikan (Jim) of Asheville, Donna Wilkes (Delbert) of Greensboro; Karen Gray (Michael) of Durham; and Mary Ellis of Boulder, Colo. She also is survived by eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her two sisters, Elizabeth Hormann and Ruth Nicholson.
Mrs. Ellis spent a portion of her childhood in Beaufort, N.C., where she was proud to say that she frequently swam the Morehead Channel. She later returned to Jones County, where she was president and valedictorian of her high school class. After graduation from Hardbarger’s Business College in Raleigh, she took a position with WTPF radio, also in Raleigh, where she met and married radio announcer and newsman Phil W. Ellis in 1941. They moved to Bass Lake in Holly Springs, N.C., in 1956.
Mrs. Ellis was well known for her public service. She was active in N.C. Democratic Women’s circles. She volunteered with the N.C. Museum of Art, Hospice of the Carolinas and for several political candidates. She was an executive secretary of the N.C. Association of Educators for 25 years. She was a member of Edenton Street Methodist Church in Raleigh since 1966, and a long-time member of the chancel choir.
At her request, Mrs. Ellis’ body has been donated to Duke University School of Medicine for research. A private family remembrance service was held on Sunday, November 18, followed by a Celebration of Life reception at Croasdaile Village in Durham. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Croasdaile Village Benevolent Fund, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Parkway, Durham, NC 27705.