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Johnnie Mae Wells Elligan, Class of 1943, Howard High, departed this life peacefully on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at home with her husband of 77 years, her son, hospice and her caregivers at her bedside, two months prior to her 95th birthday. Having begun her Christian life as a Methodist, Johnnie was baptized at Prospect Baptist Church, joining her husband’s home church, and raising their four children there. She was a stay-at-home mom until all four children were school-aged. She then began substitute teaching at several schools in Chattanooga, eventually taking a position as a teacher assistant at Orchard Knob Elementary and later accepting long-term substitute teaching assignments at Hardy Junior High. As a mother, Johnnie was blessed with unusual intuition, as well as the ability to motivate her children almost subliminally.  She believed in full economic political and social equality of males and females.  To that end, she stressed to her children the importance of post-secondary education. She was pleased that all 4 children earned baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate degrees. Over the years, Johnnie nursed her aging brothers, sisters, and extended family members who predeceased her.  She leaves to celebrate her life her loving husband, James Elligan, Sr., one son, James Elligan, Jr. who came home to Chattanooga from Hawaii to care for his parents; 3 daughters, Jan Rivens, TX; Carol (John) Martin, NC; and Dr. Joan (Dr. William) Woodward, Annapolis, Maryland. In addition, there are 11 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great grandchildren as well as 1 niece, 6 nephews, several grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins and family friends.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Prospect Missionary Baptist Church, a source of solace, especially in times like these.   A funeral service will begin at 1:00 pm Monday, February 24, 2020 in the chapel.  The Reverend Dr. Jay P. Trimble, Pastor of Prospect Baptist Church at 732 Dodson Avenue, Chattanooga 37404 and Pastor Jerry Terry of St. James Baptist Church will officiate.  Interment will follow at 2:30 pm at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. Arrangements by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Avenue, 622-9995.

Johnnie Mae Wells Elligan
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  • Sunday, February 16, 2020
    Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.
    ~ John P. Franklin Funeral Home
  • Monday, February 17, 2020
    Sending Love and Sympathy.
    ~ Claudette C Tharp   Nashville
  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020
    Aunt Johnnie was a beautiful person, inside and out. May she rest in eternal peace.
    ~ Rachel Elligan Clark   Bel Air, MD
  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020
    Our heartfelt sympathy to you Joan and family.
    ~ Kenneth and Trudy   Bermuda
  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020
    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Mrs. Johnnie. She was like a second Mom to me.
    ~ Eileen Cook Varner   Sunnyvale, CA
  • Saturday, February 22, 2020
    My heartfelt condolences to the Elligan family. I fondly remember Mrs. Elligan when we were neighbors on Newell Ave. in Chattanooga. I remember the whole family. Thinking of you and wishing you strength and comfort in the days ahead!
    ~ Bertha Ware Gardner   Atlanta, GA
  • Sunday, February 23, 2020
    Our prayers and condolences to the entire Elligan family in the passing of Mrs. Johnnie. May God lift you up and bring you peace and comfort.
    ~ Mike and Cheryl Cook   Bowie, MD
  • Monday, February 24, 2020
    Sending love and condolences to my Aunt Joan and Uncle Bill during this difficult time. Love always, Malika & Ryan Taylor
    ~ Malika Taylor   Bermuda