Ethel Marian Cochran Tolhurst Norrell, 94, of Collegedale, TN, passed away Saturday, March 31, of natural causes. Though she had slowed down physically, she remained mentally alert and full of life.
Ethel was born February 5, 1924, in Boynton, FL, to the late Marion and Leona Cochran. She lived in Concord, NC, before the family moved to her father’s hometown of Apalachee, GA, where she attended grade school. She later graduated from high school in Bostwick, GA, in 1939. She attended Madison Business School and became a secretary before attending Southern Junior College (now Southern Adventist University) in Collegedale, TN, where she obtained an Associate Degree in Elementary Education in 1943.
On the day of her college graduation, Ethel married George Monroe Tolhurst of Atlanta, GA. They lived in Washington, DC, then Loma Linda and Glendale, CA. While George attended Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Ethel worked for local physicians. After medical school, George interned and completed his residency at Georgia Baptist Hospital in Atlanta, then practiced in Cleveland, GA, where Ethel and George had three sons. From Cleveland, the family moved to Okinawa for five years of medical missionary service, where their daughter was born. They returned to Cleveland, then later moved to Hickory, NC. Ethel eventually moved back to Apalachee to care for her aging parents.
After the deaths of her parents, Ethel moved to Collegedale, TN, and in 2003 married former college classmate Dr. Milton Norrell.
Ethel was a devout Seventh-day Adventist and loved and nurtured all who knew her, never speaking ill of anyone. At the time of her death, she was a member of the McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church in McDonald, TN.
In addition to her parents and former husband George, Ethel was predeceased by her brother Dr. Frank Cochran, sisters Helen and Mary Evelyn Cochran, and son Harold Tolhurst. She is survived by her husband Dr. Milton Norrell; brother Arnold Cochran; sons Dr. Fred Tolhurst (Jane Travis) and Dr. Daniel Tolhurst (Dr. Pat Turner Shaw); daughter Dr. Judith Tolhurst; granddaughters Dr. Kate Tolhurst (Dr. Jerome Nichols), Betsy Tolhurst; Suzanne, Tessa, Nicholas and Marine Captain George McArthur (Nika Amarante); great-granddaughter Cecilia Monroe Nichols; and many beloved nieces and nephews. Very special to her final years was niece and caregiver Shea Yeager.
Donations in Ethel’s memory may be sent to the Samaritan Center, 9231 Lee Highway, Ooltewah, TN, 37363. Ethel chose to donate her body to Emory University School of Medicine. A memorial service will be held at 3 pm on July 1 at the McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church, McDonald, Tennessee.