Lora Lee Jackson McNellis, researcher, teacher, volunteer

Lora Lee Jackson McNellis was born in Ventnor City, New Jersey, September 21, 1933. She died at home after an extended illness. She was the daughter of Samuel James Jackson and Laura May Cunningham Jackson of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

She was raised in Atlantic City where she was educated in the Atlantic City, NJ public schools and received a BA degree in Biology from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Upon graduation, she was employed by Merck, Sharpe and Dohme as a Research Assistant. She was named on a published paper on the uses of acromycin, an antibiotic of the time. She was proudest of her research in a prior position for the Office of Naval Research and the Atomic Energy Commission for equipment for the U.S.S. Nautilus before the Nautilus made her first voyage to the North Pole.

After marriage, she relocated and began a new career teaching English and History at Wilson Borough High School in Easton, Pennsylvania while attending graduate school at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

She married Laurence A. McNellis, May 31, 1957, and moved 13 times in the course of their corporate lives. They retired to River Bend, North Carolina from Akron, Ohio in January 1993.

Many of the moves found her working on community volunteer work including Kindervelt of Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital, The Woman’s Club of Doylestown, Cincinnati, and Ridgefield, CT, various PTA’s, Bath Volunteer Society of Bath, Ohio, and Historical Societies in Ridgefield, CT, Akron and New Bern.

While raising a family, she was a substitute teacher in the middle, elementary and high schools of Ridgefield, Connecticut and Indian Hill, Ohio. She was the professional contralto soloist of the First Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati, the First Presbyterian Church of Akron and a member and soloist for the Akron Symphony and Musica Sacra in Cincinnati.

Since retiring in New Bern, she has continued her service to the community by joining the Cape Lookout Power and Sail Squadron where she taught boating safety in Grover C. Fields Middle School, singing contralto in the Craven Community Chorus and the Craven Messiah Chorus, and serving as docent for New Bern Historic Society’s Attmore-Oliver House.

Lora Lee was noted for her voice, her love of history and her needlepoint (she always had a needle in her hand). She was past President of the Tryon Chapter of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America.

She is survived by her husband Laurence, one daughter, Kristin L. Gaddis and husband Larry, three grandchildren, Kellen, Laine, and Cora, all of Goshen, Ohio; and one son, Matthew L. McNellis and wife Karen of Greensboro, NC.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm Saturday, August 4, 2012 at Cotten Funeral Home Chapel.

The family wishes to thank the employees of Community Home Care & Hospice for their loving care and professional services and to Coastal Community Action and their employee Mrs. Minnie Canady for her faithful and caring companionship.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the New Bern Historical Society, 511 Broad Street, New Bern, NC 28562 or to the Craven Messiah Chorus, P. O. Box 455, New Bern, NC 28563 or to Craven Community Chorus, P. O. Box 13704, New Bern, NC 28561.

Online condolences may be made to the McNellis family at http://www.cottenfuneralhome.com/