Mary Ellen Bedsole Johnson

February 25, 1929 ~ March 25, 2024 (age 95)

Mary Ellen Thompson Bedsole Johnson, 95, of Whiteville, NC, died peacefully at her home, on Monday, March 25, 2024 surrounded by her loving family and wonderful care team.

Mary Ellen Thompson was born February 25, 1929, the daughter of Furley and Mary Caroline Thompson and sister to Thomas Thompson. She grew up in eastern NC and later married Sidney Amos Bedsole. Amos and Ellen were raising their 5 children when he passed in 1969. Ellen became a cosmetologist and owned her own salon in Tar Heel, NC and another one later in Sunset Beach, NC. After she moved to Sunset Beach, Ellen met and married Rudy Johnson and they later moved to Whiteville, NC. She cared for him until he passed in 2011. Ellen also learned and taught flower arranging and provided countless bouquets for several churches. She was a superb seamstress, sewing everything from wedding dresses and headpieces to quilts and wall hangings. She also loved almost every kind of music and learned ballroom dancing. And most of all, Ellen enjoyed spending time with her family at her home or theirs. She especially loved celebrating her birthdays with her family every year and with extended family on her “big birthdays,” the last of which was held on her 90th birthday and celebrated with cake, live music, and dancing. Until recently, Ellen sent a birthday card to every child, grandchild, relative or friend every year. Our mom was always the first to smile and ask, “how are you doing, honey?” and she will be missed deeply.

“Love one another,” the Bible tells us over and over. Our mom (and grandma, great grandma/GG, great-great-grandmother, friend, neighbor, etc.) lived out this scripture in an exceptional way. She loved us all so well. Each one of us was “her favorite” and every event in each of our lives was the most amazing thing she had ever heard. She was kind, gentle and loving to every person she met. Our mother never met a stranger and was a friend and/or mother to all.

Her family includes her five children, daughter Shirley (Richard) Schulz of Summerville, SC; son Amos, Jr. (Jackie) Bedsole of Bladenboro; son Bill (Allison) Bedsole of Washington, NC; daughter Carol (Reese) Clark of Marietta, SC and son Kenneth (Dawn) Bedsole of Apex, NC. She also is survived by 11 grandchildren; Meredith (James) Butterworth of Summerville, SC; Greg (Katie) Schulz of North Charleston, SC; Steve (Jackie) Bedsole of Bladenboro, NC; Teresa Bedsole Fell of Bladenboro, NC; Melissa (Billy) Evers of Bladenboro, NC; Michael (Amy) Bedsole of Greensboro, NC; Katye (Rusty) Wicker of Huntersville, NC; Hunter (Amber) Clark of Winston-Salem, NC, Sheldon (Caitlin) Clark of Nashville, TN, Ella (Chad) Batten of Wake Forest, NC, and Ethan Bedsole of Chapel Hill, NC, plus 18 great grandchildren, 3 great-great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A funeral service will be held to celebrate our mama’s life at 11:00 am on Friday, March 29, 2024, at Tar Heel Baptist Church, 521 Tar Heel Ferry Road, Tar Heel, NC. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends from 10:00 am – 11:00 am prior to the service.

The family would like to express our deepest gratitude and love to our mom’s caregivers who have loved her so well the past several years; Dorothy Marley, Gwen Moore, Kathy Graham, Marcella Powell, Ann Skipper, Charles Simpson, Janice Jones, Lydia Lennon and Trish Dawson. Also, many thanks to the hospice team from Genitiva, especially her nurse, Jessica, Chaplain Rick Weidman and many co-workers.

Our dear, sweet mama leaves us with these final thoughts: “May God continue to bless you all. Hopefully you will always care for each other and have reunions if possible. You will always be my precious children and I always want you to be happy. I expect to see you again.”

Memorials may be made to Columbus County Department of Aging, PO Box 1327, Whiteville, NC 28472.

Friends may visit the McKenzie Mortuary Tribute page to leave condolences for the family at