St. Paul's Episcopal Church
520 Summit Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018
Roaring Gap Church Cemetery
Roaring Gap, NC
Jun 29, 1932 - Sep 10, 2018
Aurelia Gray Eller, 86, of Winston-Salem died of natural causes Monday, September 10, 2018 at Arbor Acres United Methodist Retirement Community in Winston-Salem, NC surrounded by loving family. A lifelong resident of Winston-Salem, Aurelia was born June 29, 1932 to James Alexander Gray and Pauline Bahnson Gray in their home on Cherry Street. The youngest of six children (James Gray, Jr., Bahnson Gray, Howard Gray, Christine Gray Gallaher and Pauline Gray Robinson), Aurelia was a member of Home Moravian Church until her marriage, when she became an Episcopalian and later joined her husband as a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. She attended Summit School and Salem Academy, and graduated cum laude from Duke University in 1954. That same year, she married John DeWalden Eller, Jr., an attorney in the Winston-Salem law firm Blackwell, Blackwell, Canady, Eller and Jones. Aurelia and John had three children, John III, Aurelia and Mary Louise. Devoted to her family, Aurelia also found her joy in volunteerism, creating an enduring legacy of making life better for the people of Winston-Salem, the state of North Carolina and beyond. A natural leader with a penchant for getting things done, Aurelia had a major impact on the civic life of Winston-Salem, especially in the arts, her true love. Over the course of six decades, she held leadership positions in numerous organizations, including president of the Winston-Salem Arts Council, the Winston-Salem Symphony and the Winston-Salem Junior League (played a primary role in integrating the W–S Jr. League). She served on the boards of Salem Academy and College, Old Salem, Inc., Senior Services, the Rotary Club of Winston-Salem and Eckerd Youth Alternatives Wilderness Camps (was instrumental in establishing the North Carolina chapter of these camps to help troubled youth), among many others. She was a member of the Board of Visitors of Wake Forest University and the Board of Trustees of Winston-Salem State University (from whom she received a Doctor of Humane Letters in 1989), co-chair of the Forsyth County Bicentennial Commission and chairman of the 1982 United Way Campaign (the first woman Chair). In light of her many contributions to her community, Aurelia was recognized with a number of distinguished service awards, including the YWCA Leadership Award and the Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Service Award. In 1982, she was named one of the Winston-Salem Journal’s Twenty Most Influential People of Winston-Salem. More recently, she was the 2012 winner of the Take the Lead Campaign for the Bethesda Center for the Homeless. Aurelia loved the Blue Ridge Mountains and spent every summer of her life at Roaring Gap, NC until 2015. She also was the author of three books, including “Old Salem Brought to Life” (with Paula Locklair), highlighting her mother’s paintings which were the catalyst to the restoration of and creation of Old Salem, Inc. Aurelia was sure of who she was and what she believed in, and she lived her faith with confidence and surety. Her favorite saying was, “Live so that when you are gone, it will have mattered.” Indeed, Aurelia Gray Eller did live her life that way, and it did matter, to a great many people in very many ways. In addition to her parents, Aurelia is predeceased by her husband John D. Eller, Jr. and grandson Mark Cathey. She is survived by her three children, John D. Eller III (Andrea) of Winston-Salem, NC, Aurelia Eller Cathey (Joel) of Keysville, VA and Mary Louise Eller Ball (Jim) of Poughkeepsie, NY, five grandchildren John (JD) Eller IV, James Gray Eller, Sharon Smith, James Ball and Sally Ball, and two great grandchildren, Bennett Smith and Darby Smith. A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 11:00 am at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 520 Summit Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 with a reception to follow. A graveside service at the Roaring Gap Church in Roaring Gap, NC will follow the reception. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church or the Arbor Acres Employees’ Christmas Fund.
Condolences may be made online at www.salemfh.com.
MY memories of Aurella are always pleasant.
I am so sorry to hear of Aurelia’s passing. She was always so kind and a dear friend.
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. I also regret that I will miss the memorial service at Roaring Gap but a group of us from RG will be on a golf trip in England then.
Love to the Eller family.
No one ever gave more to others than Aurelia.
Her lifelong gift of time and abilities is stamped
on Winston-Salem, Roaring Gap, and beyond.
Sympathy heartfelt to her family.
Robert Arthur Spaugh
My sincerest condolences to the Eller family. What a privilege it was for me to know Aurelia! I have always been grateful for the interest she took in Old Salem. Our entire community is grateful for her leadership in so many ways, especially as co-chair of the Forsyth County Bicentennial Commission. I am so sorry that my health will not allow me to attend her service. I am praying God's peace for each of you.
Lynn Sharpe Hill
Many people over time were the beneficiaries of her great vision and compassion for the community. However, when my young family and I lived down the street from her, she performed little acts of kindness for us to let us know she cared. i wonder how many people were the beneficiaries of her secret acts of kindness in her long and fruitful life?
Donna M Milholen
I had the privilege and joy of styling Aurelia's hair while she was with us in Strickland Pl. We became fast friends and shared a lot of laughs. she had such an amazing outlook and never gave up her goals of improvement. I am blessed and inspired just by knowing her.She truly let her light shine.
James R. Jarrell
Aurelia Gray Eller was Chair of the WSSU Trustee Board and worked unselfishly for the University. We added new programs which were approved by State, Regional, and National accrediting agencies. Our paths crossed again at Arbor Acres with her publications displayed in the library.
"There's a song in every silence, seeking word and melody, there's a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me. From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see."
With my prayers and fond memories....
Many Prayers for the family.
May you find comfort and strength in knowing that God loves you and he cares for you, through talking to God in prayer, and from God's Word, the Bible. Psalm 36:7 says: "How precious your loyal love is, O God! In the shadow of your wings, the sons of men take refuge". Nahum 1:7; God "is a stronghold in the day of distress. He is mindful of those seeking refuge in him". Please accept my sincere condolences. Always remember God loves you and he cares for you! (Psalm 147:3; 1 Peter 5:7)
I had the pleasure and privilege of serving your entire family in Aurelia and JD Eller's Roaring Gap home for many wonderful years. They were the most gracious couple I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. My heart is with each of you as I ponder her life of giving to others with immeasurable grace and kindness. My life is richer because I was so blessed by her presence.
May God's peace enfold your precious family.
Ellers/Patersons have been fine family.
Have always felt bad about the partey and Fred and the fire in the 80s and too much.