Ellen Mordecai Welles of 9317 Macon Rd., Raleigh, NC, died Saturday, April 19, after several years of declining health beginning with a stroke in 2008. She was 89. Married for 58 years to Paul Welles, Jr., deceased, Mrs. Welles is survived by one brother, George Washington Mordecai, Jr., and wife Nancy Wood Mordecai of Edenton, NC; her six children: Lane Welles Elkin and husband Barry Elkin of Littleton, NC, Elizabeth Galt Welles and partner Leland Nehring of Auburn, AL, Ellen Mordecai Welles of Asheville, NC, Paul Welles, III, and wife Nancy Dickerson Welles of Oriental, NC, Shepherd Faison Welles of Raleigh, NC and fiancée Lauren Casey, and Jeffery Galt Welles and partner Gareth Gair of Brewster, NY. She is also survived by four grandchildren: Carl Bilton Hammond, Jr. and wife Rachel Hammond of Lexington, SC, Amanda Hammond Wright and husband Cleveland Wright of Charleston, SC, Caroline Welles and Jacqueline Welles of Oriental, NC. She is also survived by three great-grandchildren.
Born and raised in Raleigh and a direct descendant of Raleigh’s founding Mordecai family, Mrs. Welles earned a Bachelors Degree from Duke University and taught English briefly at Peace College. However, she is perhaps best known for her many years as a swimming instructor at Hayes Barton Swimming Pool and more than 40 years as a horseback riding instructor, mostly at Triton Stables, the hunt-seat riding establishment she founded in Raleigh in 1969. It has been said of Ellen that she taught half of Raleigh to swim and the other half to ride! Ellen and her husband also founded Camp Triton in Littleton, NC, and operated it from 1968-1972. Mrs. Welles was honored by her peers in the North Carolina Hunter-Jumper Association as Horsewoman of the Year and with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Beloved by many, Mrs. Welles reveled in the out of doors and tirelessly urged her children and students to work hard, be tough, and achieve greatness in all their endeavors. All six of her children have followed in her footsteps by becoming teachers: Lane teaches at Vaughan Elementary School in NC, Elizabeth is a professor at Auburn University, Ellen teaches at AB Tech in Asheville, NC, Paul is the proprietor of Triton Yacht Sales Inc., Shep is proprietor of Triton Stables, and Jeffery is proprietor of Triton Ventures Farm Inc. in NY.
The family will receive friends and family at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home at 300 St. Mary’s Street, Raleigh, NC on Tuesday, April 23 from 6:30-8:00 P.M.
The funeral service will be held at 11 A.M. Wednesday, April 24, at Christ Episcopal Church, 120 East Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC followed by a reception at the church. The family will have a private burial at Oakwood Cemetery at 1:15 P.M.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to SPCA of Wake County, 200 Petfinder Lane, Raleigh, NC 27603.