Ella Pearl Caldwell departed this worldly life at the Forest Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, in Catonsville, Maryland on Saturday April 10, 2021 at 6:00 P.M., following a lengthy illness. She was born Ella Pearl Billingsley, in Lafayette, Alabama on Monday, April 16, 1928 to the late George and Lilla Billingsley. Her family consisted of eight children. Siblings who preceded her in death include three sisters, Annie Love Stinson, Addie Kate Ratchford, and Lillie Maude Zachery; and three brothers, Gertie Billingsley, Wheeler Billingsley, and Otis Billingsley.
At the age of eighteen, in August, 1946, Ella Pearl married an Alabama man who would become her true "lifetime partner," Charlie Lee Caldwell. They were together long enough to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary, until Charlie Lee's death in 2011. Seven children -- four girls and three boys -- were born of their union. Her three sons, Richard Caldwell, John Caldwell, and Chris Caldwell, all preceded her in death.
In 1951, in an effort to better support his family, Charlie Lee moved his wife and oldest children, Mattie and Richard, to Baltimore, where he was hired at the Bethlehem Steel Plant at Sparrows Point. While he worked at the Point for 32 years, his wife, Ella Pearl was involved in doing one of the things that she truly loved -- raising her children and grandchildren.
When it came to her children -- and their children -- Ella Pearl had one guiding principle: whether it was feeding them, clothing them, healing them, or sharing their sorrows or happiness, she always did so with unconditional love. Even at an advanced age, she would walk her grandchildren to grade school, to ensue they were safe. She was also an outstanding cook, excelling in making meals that used to be called "down home cuisine." But she used those culinary skills to let her offspring know that any "House" she occupied would always be a "Home" to them.
Ella Pearl has left us to join her husband, sons, and siblings. But the relatives and friends she leaves behind will forever cherish her memory and feel blessed to have been a part of her life. She leaves behind the following to mourn her passing and continue her legacy: four daughters, Mattie Gordon, Charlene Caster, Carlar Spencer, and Valerie Hopkins; a sister in LaGrange, Georgia, Mrs. Irene James; five grandsons, Chris Jr., John Jr., Darryl, Dominique, and Roland; three granddaughters, Anikka, Timmurra, and Valerie; and a host of great grandchildren, other relatives and friends.
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