Ellen Dishman Abernathy was born January 16, 1926 in Kannapolis, North Carolina and departing this life July 27, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was married to Rev. James W. Abernathy, also of Kannapolis, on Christmas Day, 1945. After his service in the United States Navy in World War II, James and Ellen returned to North Carolina, then on to Louisville, for seminary training. They were married for nearly 56 years, sharing ministry responsibilities across nine states in local church and denominational settings, before James’ death in 2001 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ellen remained in Indianapolis a few years before moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2006. In addition to her husband, James, Ellen was preceded in death by her father and mother, Christopher and Mary Lou Dishman. She is survived by her loving children, Nancy (Jim) Teague, Linda (Ken) Townsend, Karen (Michael) Stooksbury, and Jim (Cindy) Abernathy, her grandchildren Chris (Tiffany) Townsend, Jennifer (Dan) Marsh, Jon (Katie) Teague, Andrew (Susan) Teague, Holly (Drew) Vandegriff, Heather and Doug Stooksbury, and Clayton (Erika) Abernathy, and her great-grandchildren Charlie, JJ and Myles Marsh, Annie, Hope and Norah Teague, and Abe, and Hugh Vandegriff. Ellen was a faithful wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. She loved and encouraged her family and friends, always looking for the best in them and putting their needs before her own. She worked alongside her husband in various ministry responsibilities, enriching not only his efforts, but bringing blessing to congregational members, friends, and neighbors alike. She had a wonderful sense of humor and an unflappable faith that enabled her to face joys and struggles with hope and resolve. Even as her health began to deteriorate in recent years, she continued to reach out to those in her Sunday School Class as well as residents and staff at The Terrace where she lived. She was always seeking to be an encourager, particularly to those who were often without family or friends nearby. Words often used to describe Ellen were “kind,” “sweet,” “patient,” and “loving.” She lived her faith in quiet, but meaningful ways that enriched the lives of her family and all who were blessed to know her. Private family services will be observed in Chattanooga and Indianapolis, where she will be laid to rest alongside her husband. Memorial gifts for Ellen may be sent to the World Missions Offering at Red Bank Baptist Church, 4000 Dayton Blvd, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Arrangements entrusted to Lane Funeral Home, 601 Ashland Terrace, Chattanooga, TN 37415 (423) 877-3524 lanefh.com
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