USA Badminton remembers Ellie Caffery

Dec. 19, 2011, 6:17 p.m. (ET)

 USA Badminton remembers Ellie Caffery

Ellie Caffery, long time badminton player and USA Badminton supporter passed away on November 23rd 2011. Ellie and her husband Taylor were badminton ambassadors and players throughout the world and supported USA Badminton with their time, talents and donations. Taylor was US Badminton Association President from 1968- 70 and was inducted into the USA Badminton Hall of Fame in 2003. He won the Ken Davidson Sportsmanship Award in 1965. Ellie and her son Donnie Caffery of Richmond , Virginia established the USA Badminton Developmental Coaching Program in 2006.  Their very generous donations enabled Mohan Subramaniam to join the USAB staff and funded the updating of the USAB Coaching Program as it stands today. USA Badminton expresses our deepest sorrow to the Caffery Family on the passing of Ellie. Her obituary is below:

 Ellie Witherspoon Caffery died peacefully at Christwood Retirement Community on Wednesday, November 23, 2011. She was born in India­napolis, IN on May 7, 1924 to the late John Barkley and Martha Vairin Witherspoon. She was a long time resident of New Orleans, resided in Covington since 1996, and was the beloved wife of the late J. Taylor Caffery, whom she married in 1946. She is survived by two daughters: Martha Caffery Effler (Dean) of Yakima, WA and Barbara Caffery Newhouse (Peter) of Baton Rouge; two sons: Taylor L. Caffery (Mary Ann) of Baton Rouge and Donelson Caffery (Angie Wiggins) of Powhatan, VA; one sister, Monk Brannan (Carl); four grandchildren: Erin C. Effler, Keith C. Effler (Stephanie), Adam B. Newhouse (Niki), Rebekah A. Newhouse; and one great-grandson, Bryce A. Kelly. She was preceded in death by one sister, Brucie Witherspoon Rafferty.

Ellie was a world traveler, a scholar, a sportswoman, a philanthropist, and a dedicated New

Orleans uptowner. She graduated with honors from Louise S. McGehee School in 1941 (she was, in later years, proud to be a member of Mrs. Yancey’s book club); and Vassar College, 1944-45, with a degree in Bacteriology. Following graduation, she did sweet potato research for the

Department of Agriculture. She volunteered many hours with the New Orleans Public Schools, the Junior League of New Orleans and perhaps most notably with the development of the

Holman Vocational Center, which later merged with Goodwill Industries.

Ellie never ceased to read, search and learn. She developed a fascination with anthropology, and became an amateur expert in Mayan history and culture. At Tulane she also undertook a graduate degree in American Literature. Her thesis delved into mother-daughter relationships in the liter­ary world, especially that of Zelda and Scottie Fitzgerald. Her love of the arts kept her active as a patron of the New Orleans Museum of Art and an enthusiastic supporter of the local theatre and philharmonic events. She was the Queen of Momus immediately following World War Two.

Her many adventures took her to every continent, including Antarctica twice. She was photo­graphed at the helm of a Russian icebreaker, and she once speared a crocodile in the Amazon. She and Taylor scuba dived in the Red Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Caribbean. She was especially fond of Guatemala, Mexico’s Quintana Roo and the US Grand Canyon. She also loved bird watching, tennis, and was a competitor at badminton in tournaments the world over. When at home, she was an extraordinary hostess. She said, “It is all the experiences I’ve been given from other people that made my life. Even in Lacombe, it’s a different place when people come to visit. It’s not what you do by yourself, but what’s done with other people that’s important.”

Her family expresses its deep gratitude to the physicians, nurses and staff of St. Tammany Hospital, Christwood Retirement Community, and Canon Hospice for their care during her final days.