After a brief decline in health, Eleanor Cely Carter passed away peacefully on October 11 at the age of 94 surrounded by her three children.
Eleanor Cely Carter was born May 27, 1917 to Annie West and William Riley Cely in Greenville, SC.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Joel J. Carter, her parents and her older brother, W.R. Cely Jr.
She graduated from Mary Baldwin with a degree in Drama and Communication. She received a certificate for typing at Draughons Business College in Greenvillle, SC. For several years Eleanor served as a field director for the Girl Scouts of America in South Carolina and California. She also served as a business manager and actor at Flat Rock Playhouse near Hendersonville, NC. She had her own school of speech in Greenville, SC, and her own radio talk show interviewing soldiers during WW II.
Eleanor married Joel J. Carter on March 14th, 1946. They settled in Chapel Hill in 1949 where they raised three children, Cely, Catharine and Chris. Joel was a professor of Music Education at the University of North Carolina and a well-known local singer, conductor and performer. She was the housing manager at the Lost Colony in 1969 where Joel had a leading role. Eleanor and Joel were both avid enthusiasts and supporters of music and arts in Chapel Hill. Joel passed away in 2000, shortly after their 54th wedding anniversary.
In her lifetime, Eleanor served as President of the University Women’s Club, the F and L chapters of P.E.O., and the Laurel Hill Garden Club. She was a founding member of the Chapel Hill – Carrboro YMCA, where she served as a board member for 7 years, and a founding supporter of The ArtsCenter. She also served as a Deacon and Fellowship Chairman at the University Presbyterian Church where she sang in the church choir for 28 years.
She enjoyed bridge, swimming, flower arranging, singing in the Choir, dramatic readings, dancing, entertaining in her home, and travel. She loved people and never missed an opportunity to celebrate with family at events.
Eleanor and Joel often traveled with close friends Donald and Mary Helen Hayman with destinations including Europe, China, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and New Zealand. Those trips were often planned to coincide with music and arts festivals.
Eleanor’s love for life was only equaled by her love of family. She is survived by daughter, Cely Chicurel and husband Bill of Chapel Hill, NC: daughter Catharine Carter and husband Chris Kannenberg of Chapel Hill; son Chris Carter and partner Deborah Amaral of Saxapahaw, NC; granddaughter Miriam Chicurel-Bayard and husband Dustin Chicurel-Bayard of Carrboro; and grandson Matthew Chicurel of Chapel Hill. Other family members include sister-in-law Caroline Smith of Greensboro, NC.
Eleanor leaves behind a legacy of unconditional love and support for the people she cared about. Her enthusiasm and charm will be missed by all who knew and loved her. The family would like to express their appreciation for the care and compassion of the wonderful caregivers and doctors who treated her with the love and respect she deserved.
Services to celebrate her life will be held at the University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill on October 23 at 3 pm.
A private cremation ceremony was held at the Hall-Wynne Crematory.
Memorial gifts may be made to the University Presbyterian Church; The Carrboro ArtsCenter;
The Haw River Assembly; or a charity of your choice.
Online memorials, www.hallwynne.com select obituaries.