Johnnie Mae Wells Elligan, Class of 1943, Howard High, departed this life peacefully on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at home with her husband of 77 years, her son, hospice and her caregivers at her bedside, two months prior to her 95th birthday.
Having begun her Christian life as a Methodist, Johnnie was baptized at Prospect Baptist Church, joining her husband’s home church, and raising their four children there. She was a stay-at-home mom until all four children were school-aged. She then began substitute teaching at several schools in Chattanooga, eventually taking a position as a teacher assistant at Orchard Knob Elementary and later accepting long-term substitute teaching assignments at Hardy Junior High.
As a mother, Johnnie was blessed with unusual intuition, as well as the ability to motivate her children almost subliminally. She believed in full economic political and social equality of males and females. To that end, she stressed to her children the importance of post-secondary education. She was pleased that all four children earned baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate degrees. Over the years, Johnnie nursed her aging brothers, sisters, and extended family members who predeceased her.
She leaves to celebrate her life her loving husband, James Elligan, Sr., one son, James Elligan, Jr. who came home to Chattanooga from Hawaii to care for his parents; 3 daughters, Jan Rivens, TX; Carol (John) Martin, NC; and Dr. Joan (Dr. William) Woodward, Annapolis, Maryland. In addition, there are 11 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great grandchildren as well as 1 niece, 6 nephews, several grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins and family friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Prospect Missionary Baptist Church, a source of solace, especially in times like these.
A funeral service will begin at 1 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24, in the chapel. The Reverend Dr. Jay P. Trimble, Pastor of Prospect Baptist Church at 732 Dodson Avenue, Chattanooga 37404 and Pastor Jerry Terry of St. James Baptist Church will officiate.
Interment will follow at 2:30 p.m. at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
Arrangements are by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 622-9995.