Ellen “Marell” Lupfer Richardson
On Wednesday, January 29th, 2020, a saint went marching in. Marell Richardson was born on December 9th, 1918 in Kissimmee, Florida, where she was raised. Family legend has it she was born on a kitchen table—still in use and in the family—and weighed 14 pounds. Once she decided she was ready to be born—after several days of labor—she never wavered from doing things her own way and on her own timetable. She died just as she lived, on her own terms.
Despite her size at birth, Marell was a small but mighty force of nature. In younger years, she was known to sneak out of her house regularly to smoke cigarettes and spend the nights dancing in the “juke joints” of Kissimmee. Needless to say, her parents were often exasperated and this pattern continued well into adulthood. One year, when Marell was in Kissimmee for her 50th high school reunion, she stayed out until dawn, only to walk into her childhood home and face the ire of her parents yet again.
A World War II nurse, she met her life-partner-in-crime, Lyman, a surgeon, while serving in Italy. They lived much of their lives together in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, the city they both dearly loved. Fully embracing life in The Big Easy, they masterminded or participated in great adventures with their many close friends, especially loving Mardi Gras. They were reportedly arrested only once…during Mardi Gras, of course. True to their personalities they became fast friends with their cell mates and, after making bail, invited them home for cocktails. They eventually built a home in Harahan, LA, where a faucet actually dispensed beer. Naturally their nieces and nephews loved to visit their favorite aunt and uncle.
In the early 1980s, Marell and Lyman moved to Asheville, North Carolina. They made their home at Windswept Condominiums, settling right in to their new hometown. Their Super Bowl parties quickly became an annual event; some still refer to them as “legendary”. Marell made more lifelong friends while volunteering with the Asheville Downtown Association, where she once marched in the annual Christmas parade dressed as an elderly elf. Her only regret was frightening a few children.
Upon relocating to Windswept, Marell and Lyman lived next door to her sister, Bobby. After decades living apart, the sisters never left each other’s lives again. After Lyman died in 1992, Marell and Bobby both moved to the Givens Highland Farms retirement community - where they lived on opposite sides of the campus - and remained close. For many years, a favorite part of their week was Saturday wine nights in the dining room. Marell continued to live at Givens Highland Farms until her death.
Another passion Marell and Lyman shared was their fierce love for all animals. They owned many dogs ranging in size from a Great Dane to Yorkies. They loved having a cat or two in the house and for years had a parrot named Tonic who mimicked Marell’s laugh perfectly. They believed our animals are family members and all animals deserve love and protection.
Marell was preceded in death by her parents Samuel Lincoln Lupfer Jr. and Corinne Gilbert Lupfer of Kissimmee, FL, her brother Samuel Lincoln Lupfer III of Kissimmee, FL, and her husband Lyman King Richardson, MD. She is survived by two sisters, Barbara “Bobby” Lupfer Mills of Black Mountain, NC, Claire Lupfer Forrester of Winter Garden, FL, and by sister-in-law Barbara Lupfer Parrish of Hendersonville, NC. She is also survived by two goddaughters, numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and great-nephews and a few great great-nieces and nephews. One of her great-great-nieces, Ever Marell Childs, carries her name and her zest for life into the next generation.
A memorial service will be held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 219 Chunns Cove Road in Asheville on Friday, February 7th, at 11:00 a.m. Her ashes will be taken at a later date to All Saints Episcopal Church in Louisiana and will be placed alongside her beloved Lyman. Memorials may be made to St. Luke’s or to CarePartners Hospice of McDowell County, 575 Airport Road, Marion, NC.
The family wishes to extend gratitude beyond measure to Reverend Patty Mouer for her steadfast devotion and friendship to Marell; CarePartners Hospice of McDowell County, in particular Nurse Kristi and Social Worker Marla, whose care for Marell was exemplary and beyond their job titles; the staff and residents of Givens Highland Farms, especially Social Worker and Navigator John Snell and the Lodge Companions; and to her caregiver Sandra, who became her “buddy.”
Marell’s life can be summed up by the Cajun expression, “laissez les bon temps rouler,” which translates to “let the good times roll.” You will be missed.
Condolences can be made to the family at www.ashevilleareaalternative.com.
Ellen “Marell” Lupfer Richardson