In tribute: Dora woman remembered for school volunteering

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Hers was a well-known face in the town of Dora. Those who knew her describe a driven, dedicated woman who put the welfare of others before her own.

Ella “Charlie” Carmichael, mother of four, made Dora her life. A Roosevelt County resident for about 65 years, she relocated from Causey to Portales five years ago.

She made the drive to Dora every day, always sure to be in the elementary school cafeteria in time to help prepare lunch for students and hand them their milk as they passed through the line, according to Dora High secretary, Janet Newberry.

The sight of her little white head peaking over the steering wheel of her car was a common one as she bustled around town, checking in on elderly shut-ins, visiting church members and volunteering at the elementary school, Newberry said.
Carmichael, 87, died Friday in Lubbock.

Newberry said Carmichael had been volunteering at the school so long that the high school students remember her from their younger years. The children called her “Granny” and would greet her with hugs, wrapping their arms around her small frame as soon as they saw her, Newberry said.

“She loved those kids and they loved her back — she was a bright spot in their lives.”

When the children discovered she was in the hospital, they sent hand-made cards.

“She had every intention of coming back to those kids — we’ll miss her,” Newberry said.

Amazed at her fortitude in spite of her age, Newberry said Carmichael was always on the move.

“She had a mission in life and you could tell she was after it,” Newberry said.

Carmichael, widowed in 1980, also wrote the South County News for 40 years, a community update section for the Portales News-Tribune.

“We miss the news,” said Elaine Schneider a teacher’s aid at Dora High and member of Dora Baptist church where Carmichael attended services. “We haven’t even had anything in the paper since she got sick. She’s missed very much by the whole community,” Schneider said.

“She just loved everybody. She always put other people ahead of herself,” she added. “She’s got a servant’s heart. All she did was serve the people.”