Born: Monday Apr 11, 1927

Died: Wednesday Oct 23, 2019

Ellen Eskridge Groseclose

April 11, 1927 - October 23, 2019

Ellen Edmundson  Eskridge  Groseclose, 92, passed away on Wednesday, October 23, 2019,

 at UNC Rockingham  Rehabilitation  and Nursing Care Center, her residence since March

2011.   Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend --- Ellen regarded

herself  as a Christian sojourner, seeking “. . . . .to walk and to please God, ”  eternally grateful

for His loving-kindness and mercy. 

     The youngest child of Allen Taylor Eskridge and Nancy “Nannie” Nichol Eskridge, Ellen was

born  on April 11, 1927,  in Pulaski, Virginia, where she was reared and educated.  A 1948

graduate  of  Mary Baldwin College, she  majored in English and pursued a teaching career

in Farmville, Virginia.  She married William Preston Groseclose on December 23, 1949, at

First Presbyterian Church in Pulaski, followed by a honeymoon in the Pocono Mountains.  They

began their  married life in Richmond where she continued teaching, most notably at Tuckahoe

Elementary  School.

     In 1957, Ellen and Bill relocated to Charlotte, treasuring  their  five years  in “the

Queen City.”  Thrilled with their home in Myers Park, Ellen felt fortunate  to rear their

two  young daughters there where lifelong friendships were forged.   An opportunity arrived in

1962, when Bill accepted a newly -created position with Fieldcrest, Inc., in Eden, North

Carolina  (then  known  as the Tri-Cities of Leaksville, Spray, and  Draper).  Initially dismayed

at the  prospect of leaving Charlotte, she soon discovered  that her new life would be fulfilling in

a small  town.  She returned to the classroom  in 1970, first as a substitute  teacher at Morehead

Senior   High School and then as a 7th grade Language Arts / Social   Studies teacher at Holmes

Junior High School.  Her five-year tenure there abruptly ended  by family obligations,  

necessitating  frequent trips to Pulaski.  Of course, Bill chauffeured her whenever possible. 

    In fact, during their long marriage, their roadtrips became legendary. Bill always kept the

car fueled and maintained, ready for any excursion. They both studied so many maps that it

became a family joke that they considered themselves professional “motorists.”  While Ellen

enjoyed  being home, she also revelled in  travelling and planning the next adventure.  Whether

studying  in North Africa or strolling the Carolina beaches, she made sure to experience the

“local  flavor” of the place.   Her travel journals were amazingly detailed, capturing  her

fascination  with  history and all people.  Fine dining was a prerequisite at any destination, and

she  appreciated  Bill’s acquiescence to all her choices (especially since he was content with a

tomato  sandwich for lunch and a hotdog for supper).  Actually, her love of travel began as a

young  girl boarding the train to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for extensive visits with her Nichol


   Throughout her long life, Ellen delighted in language and literature.  Always an avid reader,

she shared her favorite books with family and friends who marveled at her wide-ranging library,

reflecting  her catholic tastes from theology to history---- flower-arranging to cooking----

mysteries  to biographies----genealogy to politics.  A charming conversationalist, she innately

understood  that a genuine interest in others and their opinions made for meaningful chats.  A

talented  hostess,  she entertained frequently with Bill’s assistance. (She often would say, “Bill

never  allows  his tee times to interfere with my tea times.”)   Whether preparing for bridge club

or  a  family  Thanksgiving feast, Bill and Ellen made an extraordinary team.  Her capacity for

friendship  reflected her loyalty and gratitude for the special individuals in her life.  Truly, she

cherished  her  many friends and maintained those bonds despite distance and years.  

     Always balancing a full calendar, Ellen’s daily routine began and ended with her devotional

time.  She prayed fervently and studied the Holy Scriptures intensely, deriving both comfort and

strength  from her faith.  Whether watching a Billy Graham crusade on television or praying

at  St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, Ellen sought  a reverential , yet personal, manner of

worshipping --- meaningful and refreshing. 

      During her active years, Ellen contributed her time and talents to the Leaksville United

Methodist Church, the Yokefellow Prison Ministry, Cooperative Christian Ministries, and

the Salvation Army.  She participated in several bridge clubs, garden clubs, and prayer groups.

Even as her health declined, she volunteered at the Eden Historical Museum and followed

political  / cultural events on C-SPAN.  Always the etiquette maven, she wrote her thank-you

notes,  despite her “final-chapter” challenges.  Never could she tolerate any excuse for bad


       In addition to her parents, Ellen is predeceased by her devoted husband of nearly 69 years,

William Preston Groseclose; her infant son, William Preston Groseclose , Jr.;  her siblings: 

Nancy Nichol Eskridge, Allen  Taylor Eskridge, Jr., Mary Currin Eskridge Combiths, William

Nichol Eskridge; brother-in-law Alan Dyer Groseclose; nephew Truman Bullard Combiths; and

 Alma Saunders, whose affectionate love for her “Lil’ Ell” was unconditional  always,  especially

during childhood.  Survivors include three daughters and their  families:  Martha  Groseclose 

Kolling and husband Chuck; Sarah “Sally” Groseclose  Gordon and  husband  Norman;  Ann

Groseclose  Campbell and husband Doug; four grandchildren:  William  Preston Gordon, Ellen

Jamieson Gordon, Stuart Preston Campbell, and Caroline Eskridge Campbell; sister-in-law Betsy

Wrenn  Groseclose; and many precious nephews and nieces.  Esteemed as family include Sophia

Watson, Ruth Martin, and the staff of UNC Rockingham  Rehabilitation and Nursing Care

Center, whose compassionate care is immeasurable.  The family extends special gratitude to Dr.

Terry Daniel and Hospice of Rockingham County. 


       A funeral service will be conducted at Fair Funeral Home Chapel on November

 2 at 2 o’clock with a reception following at Morehead-Fair House.   A committal service for

Ellen and Bill will take place at Oakwood Cemetery in Pulaski, Virginia, at a later date. 

      For those inclined to honor Ellen’s legacy, please consider the following:

       *Eden Historical Museum, c/o Jean Harrington, 650 Washington St.,  Eden, NC  27288

       *Leaksville United Methodist Church, 603 Henry Street, Eden, NC  27288


             “One ought --- every day --- at least --- to hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture --- in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”

                                                                ---Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


  Online condolences may be sent to Fair Funeral Home at





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Martha and family: This has certainly been a long journey for your family. Please take comfort in knowing your Mom and Dad are reunited and fully healed. They have faught the fight and are now together again. God be with you and your family as you go through the next few days and in days to follow. You were so blessed to have someone with them. A precious lady. I'm sorry I cant remember her name. Please know you're in my thoughts and prayers.
Debbie Thompson Horton

Dear Ann and Family, We are so sorry to hear of your mother's passing. I have may fond memories of her and your father over the years. May God's peace and love surround you all during this difficult time.
Beth and Darrin Pulliam

Martha, So sorry to hear about your mother. She usually sat at the table with my mom, Norma Brooks. Your smiling face and bubbly personality will be missed at the UNC Rockingham Rehab Center. My prayers for you and your family. If you would like help with thank you cards please don't hesitate to call me. 336.589.9569. Becky Shomali
Becky Shomali

Dear Ann, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. When I was reading her obituary it was very evident that she lived her life to the fullest with her family and friends. What a wonderful woman and extraordinary legacy. Although I know the deep pain you are feeling in your heart right now I also know that you are a child of God and understand His promise that we will reunite with those we have loved and lost. I’m praying for God to surround your family with His love and peace during this most difficult journey. With love, Arlene Murray Wade
Arlene Wade

Prayers for all the family!
Terrie Corns

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you in your loss. Ellen was always so warm and welcoming to me and my family. And our frequent trips through Eden more often than not included stops at the Fieldcrest Store. May God's comfort be very real to you as you walk through this valley.
Susan Weatherstone

Outstanding teacher! Wonderful neighbor! Beautiful in-depth person. Loved by all
Duane & Gloria Best

Martha, Sally, and Ann. Your mom was always so nice to me as a kid. She had a sweet spirit. Very sorry for your loss.
David Younger

Sorry Martha for the loss of your Mother ! And my prayers for the rest of Family
Sandra Parks

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