Ellen Kay Lankford

August 1, 1962 ~ January 13, 2020 (age 57)


Miss Ellen Kay Lankford, age 57 of North Wilkesboro, passed away Monday, January 13, 2020 at her home.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held 2:00 PM, Saturday, January 18, 2020, at Arbor Grove United Methodist Church on Arbor Grove Church Road in Purlear, with Rev. Dr. Susan Pillsbury Taylor officiating. Speakers will be Mr. Ken Welborn, Mr. Larry Griffin and Mrs. Janet Lael Wood. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the fellowship hall of the church.

Miss Lankford was born August 1, 1962, in Wilkes County to Samuel Hayden and Willa Mae McNeil Lankford. She was a laboratory scientist with Guilford County Health Department and was a member of Arbor Grove United Methodist Church.

Ellen always excelled in school. She attended Millers Creek Elementary and West Wilkes High schools. During her senior year, she transferred to Wilkes Central High School to take advanced classes, which allowed her to enter college as a sophomore. She went to Appalachian State University in Boone where she earned her bachelors degree in biology. She continued her education at Wake Forest Baptist Medical School in Winston-Salem, and Appalachian State University, going on to earn her masters degree in biology.

During high school she worked for Winn-Dixie grocery store in North Wilkesboro and later for Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission under the late Betty Baker. After completing her college education, she worked at Davie County Memorial Hospital in Mocksville. Later, she went to work for the Guilford County Health Department as a laboratory scientist. She also worked part-time at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro in the same capacity.

She lived in Greensboro during most of her working career. She retired from the Guilford County Health Department. Ellen moved back home to Wilkes in August 2015.

Ellen had no children, but rather looked at her brothers', Mike and Jerry’s, children as her own. Later, when Jerry’s grandchildren arrived, she acted as a grandmother to those boys as well. In return, they all loved her dearly.

Although she had many hobbies and interests – mostly dealing with more intellectual endeavors – her main passion and love was for her family, whom she treated wonderfully.

Ellen was also an accomplished pianist and vocalist, and played the dulcimer as well.

She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers; Gary Steven Lankford and Michael Grayden Lankford.

Ellen is survived by a brother; Jerry Alfred Lankford of Millers Creek, five nieces; Eva May Lankford and fiancé Robert Carlton of Millers Creek, Heather Renee Greene and husband Joven of Wilkesboro, Jennifer Osborne and husband Edwin of Millers Creek, Anna Lankford and husband Josh Church of Millers Creek and Gabriella Lankford of Hamptonville and two great nephews; Sammie Osborne and Charlie Church. Ellen is also survived by her two dearest friends: Janet Lael Wood of Wilkesboro, and Lisa Church of Millers Creek.

There are also four special people Ellen claimed as family. They are Destiny, Cassidy and Samantha Toliver - whom she considered nieces - and their father, Ken Toliver, all of Wilkes. They are the children and husband of Ellen’s dear friend, the late Carmel Toliver.

Special music will be provided by Gabriella Lankford, Destiny Toliver, Larry Griffin and Rev. Dr. Susan Pillsbury Taylor.

Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to Window World Cares St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital 118 Shaver Street North Wilkesboro NC 28659.

Online condolences may be made at


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ellen Kay Lankford, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
January 18, 2020

2:00 PM
Arbor Grove United Methodist Church
1984 Arbor Grove Ch. Road
Purlear, NC 28665

Visitation after service
January 18, 2020

2:30 PM
Arbor Grove United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
1984 Arbor Grove Church Road
Purlear, NC 28665


Window World Cares St. Jude Children's Research Hopsital
118 Shaver Street, North Wilkesboro NC 28659

© 2020 Reins - Sturdivant Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA