Ellen Davis Whitley, 80, of Rome, Georgia, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 3, 2021, at 3:30 A.M. in Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome after enduring years of failing health courageously and without complaint. Ellen was born on September 16, 1940, in Farill, Alabama, the daughter of Mrs. Kate Henderson Davis. Ellen grew up in Farill and later lived in Germany, Mississippi, California, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, and Georgia, making many friends wherever she went. Those who survive to honor Ellen's memory include her husband of 61 years, (Ret.) Col. Lee O'Neal Whitley; her children, Michelle Whitley Turner of St. Paris, Ohio; Cynthia Kay Colby and her husband, Richard, of Tipp City, Ohio; Mitchell Lee Whitley and his wife, Tammy, of Lexington, Kentucky; and honorary adopted son, David Blake, and his partner, Jess Lim, of Rome; her grandchildren, Althea Rae Smith of Columbus, Ohio; Dr. Elizabeth Kate Turner and her husband, Levi Coey, of Dayton, Ohio; Logan Coltrane Smith of Portland, Oregon; Alexander William Turner of St. Paris, Ohio; Austin Mitchell Whitley of Lexington, Kentucky; Ashley Lauren Whitley of Lexington, Kentucky; and Maxton Bahan Colby of Tipp City, Ohio; siblings Donald "Don" Davis, Jr. and his wife, Edna, of Rome; Robert "Bob" Davis and his wife, Mary, of Cedar Bluff, Alabama; and Janet Davis Barkley and her husband, Larry Barkley, Esq., of Rome. Other survivors include Agnes Davis of Tupelo, Mississippi; former son-in-law, Mark Turner and Patti Bryan of St. Paris, Ohio; her Whitley-family brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Dale Whitley and his wife, Carolyn, of Anniston, Alabama; Charles Whitley and his wife, Gloria, of Anniston, Alabama; Roy Whitley and his wife, Shelba, of Lincoln, Alabama; Anita Hedgepath and her husband, Kenneth, of DeArmanville, Alabama; Ken Whitley of Smyrna, Georgia; and William Willingham of Anniston, Alabama; her wonderful caregivers who gave her love as well as excellent care, April Allen, Nene Ocasio, Ulrisha Allen, Tyera Johnson, Earline Johnson, and Aaliyah Vickers, all of Rome; and many other aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, neighbors, and friends from around the country who loved Ellen dearly and whom she loved with all of her sweet, wonderful heart. She was preceded in death by her beloved mother, Kate Henderson Davis; her grandson, Max K. Colby; her mother-in-law and father-in-law, Elma and Aubrey Whitley; her aunts and uncles, Nellie and Ralph Henderson, Mildred "Mid" and Clarence Chesnut, Sr., Bryce and Amanda Henderson, Margie Henderson James Atkins, Alfred Hight Henderson, and Amy and Hugh Webb; and her sister-in-law, LaNelle Willingham. All of us who loved Ellen want to thank her doctors including Linda Hoffmann, her home-health nurses, the EMTs, Dr. Jeffrey Talbot and all the other wonderful doctors and nurses at Redmond, Chelsea and John at Heartland Hospice, and Henderson and Sons for doing their best for Ellen. You are appreciated. Smart, beautiful, and talented with an irrepressible joy for life, Ellen graduated from Gaylesville High School in 1958. Her many accomplishments and activities in school included 4H, Girls State, G club, cheerleading, FFA, FHA, school plays, MYF, church choir, co-editor of the yearbook, secretary of the senior class, secretary for the county MYF, student council treasurer in her senior year, and more, and being honored as Miss Gaylesville, Miss FHA, Senior Sweetheart in Who's Who, and co-valedictorian of her senior class. She loved her friends at school and had such fun there. Ellen attended Auburn University and then the University of Alabama, where she studied home economics and English to become a teacher. She was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church. During times when she worked outside of the home including as a substitute teacher, a gift-wrap specialist, and a receptionist, Ellen became a favorite of her coworkers and loved them right back. A devoted mom and grandmother, Ellen dearly loved her children and grandchildren and did all she could to make their lives happier and to support them in whatever paths they chose. She was always there for her children from room parent to personal cheerleader, and she loved watching her grandchildren grow and hearing about all their adventures. Grandchildren, she believed, could do no wrong ever. Ellen loved college football and was a passionate fan of Auburn football who nevertheless cheered for Alabama and Georgia when they weren't playing Auburn. As stylish and neat as she was fun, Ellen also was adventuresome in everything from parasailing to riding jet skis to taking a helicopter ride in the Grand Canyon. At home, she loved the holidays and added sweet, thoughtful touches to make them special for everyone. When Ellen's health would no longer allow her to travel and stay on the go, she focused on the bright side and became interested in watching all kinds of sports and home-improvement shows. Throughout her life, she gave her all, literally and figuratively, to those she loved. Ellen's goal in life was, "To be successful in my undertakings and to contribute something worthwhile to the human race," a goal that she more than met. Just as Ellen brightened our world in life, her memory will forever warm our hearts. We will love and miss her always. In keeping with her kind nature, Ellen had signed up to be an organ donor. As she wished, Ellen was cremated with her ashes returned to her family. A plaque honoring Ellen will be placed next to her mother's grave in Randle Cemetery in Gaylesville, Alabama. An open-house celebration of Ellen and her life well-lived will be held on Sunday, September 19, 2021, from 1 to 5 PM Georgia time at the Rome Area History Museum, upper floor (elevator available for easy access), at 305 Broad Street, Rome, Georgia 30161. Enter from the back of the museum on West First Street, facing the Town Greene and the Forum, and take the elevator to the upper floor. If you have questions, you are welcome to contact Michelle at email@example.com or 937-572-2670. We wish you comfort in your favorite memories of Ellen. Henderson & Sons Funeral Home, North Chapel, makes this announcement for the family.
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