Ellen Parham
1914 - 2013
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Ellen Irene Mays Parham

Ellen Irene Mays Parham (99) made her transition to heaven on Saturday December 21, 2013, in her home with family present.

A visitation will be held on Saturday, December 28th from 1:00PM to 2:00PM at Culley's MeadowWood Riggins Road Chapel, followed by a celebration of her life at 2:00PM. Interment will take place at Roselawn Cemetery. Services will be conducted by grandsons, Reverend Carl Blackburn and Reverend David Thompson.

She was born on December 18, 1914 in Taylor County, Florida near Perry. Ellen and twin sister Helen were children of George Elmo and Mamie Frances Branan Mays. Ellen was pre-deceased (2001) by her husband, Leslie James "Les" Parham whom she married on October 18, 1937 in Tallahassee.

With Ellen, a generation ended; she was pre-deceased by each of her siblings: Hugh, Charles, Anton, James Thomas, Robert, Mamie Frances and Helen as well as all of her in-laws.

Her childhood years were spent in Perry, Reddick and Tallahassee. After her mother's early death and the effects of the Great Depression, Ellen came to Tallahassee to live with her brother Hugh Mays and his wife Frances (Woodward) and graduated from Leon High School in 1932.

She was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church and at the time of her passing, Ellen Parham was noted as being the longest member of the church: 87 years.

She had a never-ending adventurous and independent spirit to explore and learn. As a young woman she and friends saved-up and went to the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. She told stories of taking the train from Tallahassee to Jacksonville with her friends, just to go to a movie. Always ready to travel, later in life she visited Europe, Canada, Hawaii, the Caribbean and Russia.

Ellen retired from a career in state government (Florida Industrial Commission) in 1976 thus enjoying 37 years of retirement filled with bridge games, travel and family. She touched a lot of lives through her work and activities easily making treasured friends along the way.

Ellen was a direct descendant of James Mayes who came to America from Ireland in the early 1700's. James' grandson, Andrew, fought in the American Revolution from South Carolina. Maternal ancestors included her grandfather, Joshua Branan, who was in the Georgia Militia during the War Between the States. She was a proud member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and "First Families of Henry County, GA".

She is survived by her children, Sara "Sally" Ann Johnson (Victor) of Panama City, FL, Carolyn Ellen Blackburn (Herbert) of Cordele, GA and Leslie James "Jim" Parham, Jr. (Ramsay) of Ochlockonee Bay, FL. "Granny" had 7 grandchildren: Debra Farr Gilhousen (Terry) of Middleburg, FL; Sandra Farr Brophy (Larry) of Bradenton, FL; James Michael Farr (Ammie) of Jacksonville, FL; Jon Jason Farr (Amanda) of Satellite Beach, FL; Jennifer Blackburn Thompson (David) of Cordele, GA; H. Carlton Blackburn (Kristen) of Statesboro, GA; and Leslie Blackburn Fitch (Taylor) of Rydal, GA. Great-grandchildren are Beau, Summer and Paige Gilhousen; Emily Hope Brophy; Austin and Autumn Farr; Lydia, Ben and Luke Thompson; Madi, Camden and Lily Blackburn; Olivia and Bennett Fitch.

She also had 5 step-grandchildren: Lisa Johnson Corner (Brad) of Jacksonville, FL; Tracey Johnson Columbus (Ed) of Palm Coast, FL; Nicole Johnson Mills (Mike) of Jacksonville, FL; Virginia Ponder (Perry) of Tallahassee; and Lesley Proctor (Robert) of Lithia, FL with 10 step great-grandchildren: Alecia and Ryan Corner; Eddie and Evan Columbus; Brittany and Zachary Mills; Peyton and Nicolas Ponder; Will and Grace Proctor.

She is also survived by nieces: June Mays Turner of Lakewood Ranch, FL; Julia Frances Mays Wood and Mary Ellen Mays Bryson (Walter) of Tallahassee; Carolyn Mays Cameron (David) of Keswick, VA; Melba Mays Maynard of Kissimmee and a nephew, Charles B. Mays (Mabel) of Brandon, FL.

The family wishes to extend thanks for easing her final time to Becky Blackburn, Doris and Glover Harris, Big Bend Hospice and the staff at Home Instead; with particular thanks to caregivers Julie Tharpe and Shanty Bryant.

Contributions may be made in her name to Trinity United Methodist Church - 120 W Park Ave, Tallahassee, FL 32301 or to Big Bend Hospice - 1723 Mahan Center Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32308

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Tallahassee Democrat from Dec. 23 to Dec. 28, 2013.
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