Lee Family Mourns Passing Of Dr. Ellen French

Friday, July 28, 2017
Dr. Ellen Brown French
Dr. Ellen Brown French

Lee University is saddened by the recent passing of Dr. Ellen Brown French, professor emeritus and former chair of Lee’s Language & Literature Department. 

“Dr. Ellen French was a wonderful teacher and mentor to me while I was a student at Lee,” said Dr. Susan Ashcraft, Lee professor of psychology and human development. “A highly intelligent, well-spoken, passionate woman full of grace and wisdom, she was a role model for me and to many other women who wanted to pursue a career in academia. She had a knack for being hard on you, demanding your best performance, all the while encouraging and celebrating you as a student. I’m thankful for her and the influence she had on my life.” 

Dr. French taught English at Lee from 1976-1990 and served as department chair from 1988 through her retirement in 1990. In 1988, Dr. French also established Lee’s Writing Center, the same year she received the Excellence in Teaching Award. 

“Dr. French was the chair when I joined the Department of Language and Literature in 1988,” said Dr. Donna Summerlin, English professor and assistant chair of the department. “She was always gracious but not soft by any stretch of the imagination. She seemed to me to be a paragon of wisdom and sophistication when I came as a new faculty member. I also remember that she had a delightful sense of humor and could deliver a knockout punchline with a completely deadpan expression.” 

Dr. French graduated from Bible Training School, the predecessor of Lee University, and later earned degrees from Southern California College and Butler University. Just before her 60th birthday, she received her Doctor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. 

Dr. French and her husband, C.E. French, who is the founding pastor of Westmore Church of God in Cleveland, were called to missions from the start of their relationship. They left on their wedding day to build a church in New Mexico. Their mission work took them to 42 states and several countries, including India, Puerto Rico, and Santo Domingo, among others. They also served churches in New Mexico, Missouri, West Virginia, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, and California, spanning 50 years of pastoral ministry.  

She served as the executive secretary of the Church of God women’s ministries program and was instrumental in working for the ordination of women. She was one of the first women to be ordained in the Church of God. 

This past fall, Dr. French was honored as Distinguished Alum of the Year for Lee’s Language and Literature Department. 

“I had the privilege of working with Dr. French several years in the Research Center on campus,” shares Dr. Louis Morgan, director of library services at Lee. “I respected and appreciated her very much, and I learned much from her instruction, guidance, and encouragement, which she provided through a balance of seriousness and humor. I will always remember her laugh, fondness for hats, stories about Lee’s early days and missionary work, her tremendous kindness, and her godly example.” 

Dr. French leaves behind five sons, 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren to cherish her memory. The funeral will take place on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the North Cleveland Church of God Dixon Chapel. She was 98 years old.

CSCC To Host Career Community Major Discovery Event

Cleveland State Community College is hosting a Career Community Major Discovery Event on campus next Wednesday from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the George L. Mathis Student Center. This event is designed to assist both current and prospective students in choosing a major and what path or “career community” will be best-suited for them. Participants will be able to meet with faculty, ... (click for more)

GNTC Alum Ryan Fincher Is 1 Of 6 Finalists For An International Welding Competition

Georgia Northwestern Technical College alumnus Ryan Fincher of Cedartown is one of six finalists selected for the American Welding Society U.S. Invitational Weld Trials – part of a four stage process to select the SkillsUSA World Team Welder to represent the nation at the 2019 WorldSkills Completion.    The AWS U.S. Invitational Weld Trials will take place Dec. 3-9 ... (click for more)

County Schools To Push Forward With Equity Effort; Magnet Schools To Get More Diversity With Lottery Change

The county schools will push forward with an equity effort that appeared to have been paused after board members Rhonda Thurman and Joe Smith in May said  they rejected the idea that county schools need to “racially and economically integrate.” An equity task force did not meet for several months and the schools did not move forward on hiring an outside consultant to help ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC To Build Soccer-Specific Stadium For 2020 Season

Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club is building a state-of-the-art, soccer-specific facility, where the team will host home games beginning in 2020. For its inaugural season, the club will play at Chattanooga Christian School’s David Stanton Field in 2019.   David Stanton Field seats 3,500, and the club plans to install additional temporary seating allowing up to approximately ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dear Faux Pelini

It has been my experience that of all the tribes and herds of different people on earth, sports writers are among the funniest people of all. Oh, there isn’t anything real sexy about Villanova beating Georgetown or a baseball player hitting for the cycle. Now, if a player hits a single, double, triple and homer in that order, that’s “a natural cycle,” and that is kind of fun to ... (click for more)