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Ellen Stuart Pringle Read

April 23, 1938 — April 23, 2024

Charleston

Ellen Stuart Pringle Read

Ellen Pringle Read died peacefully at home at her Bishop Gadsden cottage on April 23, 2024, which was her 86th birthday.

Born in Columbia in 1938 to the late Margaret Gibbes Pringle and John Julius Pringle, Ellen graduated from Columbia High School and Sweet Briar College. In 1960 she married Isaac Mayo Read of Charleston, and the young couple made their home on Barnwell Street in Columbia. Ellen and Mayo moved to their longtime residence on Tradd Street in Charleston in 1966.

Ellen’s love of French culture and food began during her Sweet Briar junior year abroad in Paris. Always adventurous, Ellen re-immersed herself in French culture in the early 80’s as a sous-chef at a summer camp for young teenagers in France’s Dordogne Valley. Soon afterwards she and Mayo took ownership of Palmetto Travel Service in Charleston, where they both delighted in advising clients and leading groups of friends on barge trips and garden tours in England and France.

With her Columbia cousins and her siblings Johnny and Eve, Ellen spent all of her childhood summers at the Gibbes cottage on Pawleys Island, which was built in the 1930’s by her maternal grandmother, Lina.  Ellen’s four grandchildren were the fifth generation to enjoy ocean breezes from one of the cottage’s porch hammocks, frolic in the Atlantic surf, and feast on the creek’s bounty at the dining room table overlooking the marsh. Summer weeks together at the Gibbes cottage are a cherished memory of Ellen and Mayo’s closest friends.

Enjoying birds and their habitat was core to Ellen’s happiness and being.  Her two birding soul mates were her sister Eve and her Bishop Gadsden neighbor and friend, Katy Huger. Well into her 80’s Ellen would startle family and friends with her near perfect hearing and rapid identification of woodland birdsongs.  Inspired by both Lina and her mother Marne, Ellen loved plants and gardening. She was a founding member of Charleston’s Horticultural Society and an enthusiastic supporter of Mayo’s many tree planting initiatives throughout the Charleston peninsula.

Lovers of exercise and good food, Ellen and Mayo were in their element hosting friends for paddle tennis round robins and oyster roasts in the 1970’s at their rustic weekend retreat on Awendaw Creek. In the 1990’s they moved from Tradd Street to a contemporary home on Tacky Point Road on Wadmalaw Island, where Ellen delighted in marsh views and the abundance of sea and woodland birds. 

Ellen was a member of the Junior League of Charleston and a board member of the YWCA of Greater Charleston. She and Mayo were early supporters of Spoleto USA, where she enjoyed organizing fundraising initiatives for the newly formed festival.

Ellen was predeceased by her sister, Evelyn Pringle Boyd; her brother, John Julius Pringle; and her husband, Isaac Mayo Read.

She is survived by her sons: Isaac Mayo Read Jr. and John Preston Read; daughter-in-law, Marijean Michele Miller; granddaughter, Darby Hicks Read; three grandsons: Clayton Elliott Read, John Preston Read, Jr. and Stuart Leconte Read; and Georgina Burdine Clayton, mother of Clayton and Darby Read.

Ellen’s Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, May 4, 2024, in The Chapel at Bishop Gadsden, One Bishop Gadsden Way at 11:00 a.m. Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. Downtown Chapel. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Audubon South Carolina, Attn: Donations, 225 Varick Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10014 (https://www.sc.audubon.org) or to The Charleston Horticulture Society - Support the Hort, 46 Windemere Blvd., Charleston, SC 29407 (https://www.chashortsoc.org/donate).
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ellen Stuart Pringle Read, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, May 4, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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