Ellen Potter- We’ll Say Good Night Here . . .

Ellen Potter, 95 years old. She was a sweet mama.

Mary Ellen Potter 1913-2013

I was singularly blessed to have a sweet mama who was also my grandmother. She and my grandfather chose to take me into their lives when they were nearly 50 years old, and I’m so glad they did. They gave me a secure home and boundless love, pointed me toward faith in Christ, and shaped my life in countless ways.

Her approach to life is best described by a quote that was posted on her wall:

A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming,
understand the unconventional,
tolerate the unpleasant,
overcome the unexpected,
and outlast the unbearable.
– Billy Graham

She lived with us for nearly two decades after daddy passed on, and there were ups and downs. Faith, accompanied sense of humor, got us through daddy’s last days with Alzheimer’s disease, and the challenges of creating a life as an extended family. I’m so thankful our boys got to know her and were able to be part of her life by filling bird feeders, planting spring flowers, and doing countless little errands with (for the most part) patience.

During her last week on earth, dear friends from California visited, and we spent time at the nursing home, talking with her. Our oldest son sang the two songs she always requested from him, and he and our friend sang some of her favorite old hymns. It was a great blessing to me.

She wasn’t always old, so here are a few photos from other phases of her life:

Ellen Shearin and Pearl Moody

Ellen and her friend, Pearl


Trevor Hanes and Ellen Shearin waiting for the 'Stage'

Trevor Hanes and Ellen Shearin waiting for the ‘Stage’


The "stage" that took students to school, Stonyford, CA

The Stonyford “Stage” took students to high school. Mama is the high-heeled flapper sitting on the fender.

Jack and Ellen Potter 1937

Jack and Ellen, 1937

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 5, 2013; West End Community Center, 8102 Ridge Rd, Henrico, VA.

If you want to share a comment or memory, there will be time for that as well as space for written memories. You’re also welcome to leave a comment or memory below.

9 Responses

  1. What a lovely tribute to your grandmother. I’m so sorry to hear about her passing, but of course you will see her again and what a reunion you’ll have in heaven! Praying for comfort for you and the rest of her loved ones.

  2. John and Marjorie Morey says:

    We remember Ellen Potter as a loyal, happy believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. She was a joy to be with, generous and kind, faithful and loving to her Savior and fellow-christians–just good company! God gave her 100 years in this earthly life, and everlasting life in the home He has promised in His Word, the Bible, for all His children. We will see her again shortly, by God`s grace, and we will all be together, forever with our Lord.
    Praise the Lord. Psalm 16:11 “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

  3. Jolene Robinson says:

    Dearest Mama,

    Time to say, “Gone, but not forgotten.” It’s very hard right now, but before long Janni and I will be sharing laughs over memories of the great joy you had for fun.

    I already reminded Janni of my visits and the times she and Donald would be trying to sleep upstairs and you and I would be howling with laughter downstairs.

    Love, Your Daughter, Jolene

  4. Alan Hemenway says:

    Judy and I will always remember Ellen and Jack as our adopted parents within the assembly. Ellen and Judy were always giggling together. When I was courting Judy, we would frequently go to their house on Friday nights and have popcorn. Ellen and Jack were very nurturing. There came a time when they asked us what our intentions were. I had assumed that Judy and I would be married. Jack asked me, “Well, have you asked her.” It put me under conviction that I should ask her immediately. I proposed to Judy in front of Jack and Ellen and, of course, Judy accepted. Thid is our fondest memory of them. All is well, in the Lord.

  5. Liz Cooley says:

    My memories of Mrs. Potter are still vivid all these years later. I remember the first time I met her. I was scared to death to come inside the house. I had short hair and I wore pants. I was not comfortable in my own skin. But within minutes of this first visit, the fears were relieved by the kindness and gentility of this dear lady. I never again felt uncomfortable. I remember spending time with Mr. Potter asking him a lot of questions about God and His word and how patiently he shared and answered them for me. Being in the Potters house was always a warm and pleasant time. I look forward to the day when we will meet again and have more conversation. Until we meet again ….

  6. Jeanne says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your Mom/grandma. It sounds like she was a real blessing to you and many others. May God bring you comfort, especially on the days when you miss her most.

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