Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart. ~Washington Irving
Over the course of this summer, we have experienced loss at the Folk School. Three people who have meant a great deal to us have passed away. We are thankful for what each one has contributed to our lives and to the School, and we extend deepest sympathy to their families.
Maggie Masters, along with her husband, Gus (who passed away in 2001), were co-directors of the Folk School from 1974-1976. Every director leaves his or her mark, and this seems especially true of the Masters, considering their significant accomplishments in such a short period of time. The Masters were responsible for starting the enameling program (both of them talented enamelists), the Resident Artist program, and Fall Festival. These major undertakings signify great creativity and vision for the Folk School, and we are thankful to Gus and Maggie for their huge contributions that have led us to where we are today.
Those who remember Maggie recall her wit, her great talent in theater, enameling, painting, and writing, and her love of life.
Edwin Manchester, a former Folk School Board Member, Resident Artist, and long-time friend passed away. Edwin served on the Board from 2004- 2008 and was Resident Artist in Nature Studies from 1999- 2004. Edwin’s wife, Esther was director of the Folk School from 1976- 1983. Edwin was an employee of the USDA Forest Service for many years as a seed orchard manager. Friends remember Edwin’s gentle and kind manner as well as his sense of humor.
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Ellie Wilson, one of the dearest friends of the Folk School. She was truly a treasure.
Ellie will be remembered for her special connection with the Folk School, her talent of writing, love of teaching, community advocacy, strong faith, spunky personality, and most of all, her warmth and genuineness. Ellie came to Brasstown from New York in 1941 and worked in the Craft Department at the Folk School. She lived in the Farm House with Olive Campbell and readily adapted to rural Southern farm life. It was at the Folk School that Ellie met Monroe Wilson, whom she would marry and raise a family with in Brasstown. Monroe and Ellie reared four children, one of whom is Danny Wilson, who is a part of our Buildings and Grounds department. Ellie had a perspective on the Folk School that almost no one else had, due to her close friendship with Olive Campbell and her many years in Brasstown.
Ellie authored two books: My Journey to Appalachia (2004) and the sequel, My Life in Brasstown (2009.) She was working on a third book at the time of her passing. She also appeared in the Folk School’s emmy-nominated documentary “Sing Behind the Plow.”