Ellen Heard of Johns Creek, Georgia passed away June 22, 2019.
Ellen was born and raised in Florida. As a freshman at Tift College in Forsyth, Georgia, she met her future husband, John Heard, a hometown boy and premed student at Mercer University. After securing their separate degrees, hers in drama and his in medicine from Emory University, they married. They then lived in Louisville, KY the next three years while the young doctor completed residency training at Louisville University General Hospital. During this time, Ellen taught school, studied voice at the Louisville Conservatory of Music and performed in the Louisville Little Theatre.
Following a tour of duty in the United States Army, the couple and their by now two children settled in Decatur, GA where Dr. Heard began his practice in medicine. Then they had their third child completing their immediate family. Ellen loved being the wife of John Heard who adored her. Together they created a loving family life that included quite a few adventures. Dr. Heard flew the family in his twin Cessna frequently including trips to the western U.S., Mexico, and the Bahamas.
They had a cattle farm near Braselton, GA where they rode horses, learned cattle farming and worked in the garden. As the children got older, they planned fabulous family reunions in Ponte Vedra, Florida for their children, their spouses, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The family motto was “Have Fun!” Though busy as a wife and raising children, Ellen was an actively involved member of the Dekalb County Junior League, the Atlanta Symphony Youth Program, her church choir and other civic duties.
Additionally, Ellen continued to pursue her interest in theatre. During the sixties, she was a lead performer in the early Theatre Atlanta productions such as Beyond the Horizon, Auntie Mame, Oh What a Lovely War, The Mad Show and Boy Meets Girl. She worked with the Alliance Theater, Theater of the Stars and the Alabama Shakespeare Theatre. Though she considered musical comedy her forte, she received critical acclaim for her dramatic performance in Albee’s A Delicate Balance with Onstage Atlanta and her favorite role of M’Lynn with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival production of Steel Magnolias. As a professional, she was a member of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists and the Screen Actors Guild and worked extensively in dinner theatre and summer stock in Atlanta and North Carolina. Through the agency, Atlanta Models and Talent, she was cast in numerous national and regional TV and radio commercials and industrials. She appeared in a number of episodes of In the Heat of the Night with Carroll O’Conner and worked with Jeff Foxworthy in his Blue Collar series.
Long a friend of the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Ellen, as the co-Chairman of its Foundation Acquisition Committee, was a leading force and the co-founder of Christmas at Callanwolde, a fund raiser for restoring the old Candler home to its former splendor. She was the Design Chairman for the very first event working with foremost Atlanta ASID designers to transform the home into a magical holiday that included musical performances, a tea room, a bake shop, pottery, art and children’s activities including Mr. and Mrs. Santa. It was an overwhelming success financially and artistically for the Fine Arts Center and continues annually 45 years later. In her retirement years, Ellen enjoyed spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren and traveling to New York and Europe.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John P. Heard, M.D.; her parents, Edna Gnann Wallace and Stuart Rhett Wallace of Palatka, FL; her brother, Stuart Rhett Wallace, Jr. and his wife Anne; and her sister, Yvonne (Bonnie) Huntley and her husband Bill.
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, John Heard, Jr. and Jill; their children Matt Harter and wife Kathryn and their children Emily and Kate; Charles Heard and his wife Megan; Alison Heard Dougherty and her husband Patrick; her daughter and son-in-law, Susan Heard Jung and Horst, their son John Jung; and her son and daughter-in-law Jim Heard and Terry, their children Kelsey, Megan, Paige and Matthew.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Atlanta Athletic Club on July 6, 2019 at 4:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to your favorite charity.
Online condolences may be left at www.billheadfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Duluth Chapel, (770) 476-2535.