Ellen Stephen Small, 99, a fifty-year resident of Chapel Hill, N.C., died peacefully on September 22, 2023 at the Pines of Carolina Meadows.
Ellen was born in Luverne, MN on September 24, 1923, the youngest daughter of Clyde Minard Stephen of Luverne and Sara Mihan Stephen, formerly of Cheyenne, WY. In June of 1945, Ellen graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Dental Education. She was proud to be a Gama Phi Beta. On her graduation day, she married Dr. Ernest William Small, also a graduate of the University and of its Dental School. She worked in dental offices and as a teacher until the birth of her first child.
Dr. Small served for 26 years as a dental officer in the United States Navy. The Small family moved frequently around the country during Captain Small’s service with the Navy. Ellen Small was proud to say that she successfully moved her family to a new home over two-dozen times. She also spent innumerable volunteer hours on behalf of Navy Relief.
When Dr. Small retired from the Navy, they moved to Chapel Hill where he became Chief of Oral Surgery at the University of North Carolina Dental School. The Smalls made Chapel Hill home for the remainder of their lives, moving to Carolina Meadows in 1996. Ellen and her husband enjoyed travel and spent many trips overseas and owned vacation homes in the Virginia Blue Ridge and Florida. They enjoyed 57 years together until his death in 2002. After Dr. Small’s death, Ellen remained at their home in Carolina Meadows until a recent fall and resulting injuries when she moved to the Pines
Ellen was a wonderful and dedicated mother, homemaker and a gourmet chef. She was proud of her four children, six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Ellen was predeceased by her parents and her siblings, Margaret Keen of Tacoma, WA and Alene Dullanty of Spokane, WA. She is survived by her son John H. Small and wife Gayle of Arlington, VA; daughter Sara S. House and husband George of Greensboro, NC; daughter Janie Dowdy and husband Dennis of Blacksburg, VA; and son Stephen W. Small and wife Carol of Fairfax, VA. Her grandchildren and spouses are Michael C. Dowdy (Shelley Welton) of Philadelphia, PA; Mihan Taylor (Oliver) of Vicksburg, MS; Ryan P. Dowdy (Rachel Crump) of New Orleans, LA; Ellen M. House (Drew McKown) of Athens, GA; and John M. Small and Emma P. Small of Fairfax, VA. Her great grandchildren are James McKenna, Alice Dowdy, Rohne Taylor, Georgia McKown, Baker McKown, Theo Dowdy and Arlo Dowdy.
The family wishes to remember Dr. Henry P. L’Heureux of Carolina Meadows for his years of friendship. They also wish to thank the staff at the Pines for their considerate and compassionate care during her last years of life and Authora Care for their assistance over the final months.
Burial services will be private at New Garden Friends in Greensboro, NC.
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