Cover photo for Ella M. "Nana" (Ruark)  Matherly's Obituary
1931 Ella 2021

Ella M. "Nana" (Ruark) Matherly

October 12, 1931 — June 27, 2021


Ella M. Matherly, also known as “Nana” passed away peacefully on June 27, 2021.  She was born on October 12, 1931 in Bishops Head, MD, the daughter of the late Wilsie Ruark Slacum.

Ms. Matherly was raised in Cambridge, MD, until 1959 when her and her husband, the late William “Eddie” Matherly, moved to Warrenton, VA to pursue a career in the country music industry.  In addition to their affiliation with WKCW “Big K” radio, they operated and managed establishments in Fairfax and Culpeper, VA, where they were country music promoters.

Ella and Eddie brought a number of Grand Ole Opry stars to their stages, including names such as Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette, and George Jones to name a few.  After Eddie passed in 1964, Ella continued in the music industry until moving back to Cambridge in 1984.

Ms. Matherly then began a career as a caregiver due to her love for others, working in nursing homes and as a private sitter for over 30 years.  She also worked at Airpax.

Ella was very active and dedicated to her faith as a member of the Friendship United Methodist Church on Aireys Rd, where she considered the members part of her family, to include her “sister” Doris Weber.

“Nana” as she was most commonly referred to, never met a stranger, was loved by so many, as her sense of humor was infectious and she strongly believed laughter was the best medicine.

She is survived by three daughters Kaye Smith of Cambridge, Gail Mills of Hurlock, Melody Pearson of Secretary, a son Keith Richardson (Tina Ryan) of Mardela Springs, eight grandchildren Rhonda Askins, Cory Pearson (Jessica), Courtney Shorter (Jenson), Rusty Ewell (Kim), Chad Smith (Tina), Duane Mills (Kelly), Melanie Mills and Ella Mills, numerous great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Besides her parents and her mother, Mrs. Matherly is preceded in death by a brother Burnette “Sug” Slacum.

Pallbearers will be Rusty Ewell, Jacob Weber, Landen Warfield, Cory Pearson, Chad Smith, Duane Mills and Jenson Shorter. Honorary pallbearers will be Buford Vaughn, Chuck Weber, David Weber and Patrick Weber.

A graveside service will be held on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at 1pm at East New Market Cemetery with Rev. Tish Nance-Sproson officiating. A visitation will be held on Thursday from 11 am to 12:30 pm at the funeral home. "Nana" was committed to her family, faith and friends and would like in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Friendship United Methodist Church, c/o Mrs. Karol Redline, 7 Shady Drive, Cambridge, MD 21613. Arrangements are in the care of the Thomas Funeral Home, P.A. in Cambridge.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ella M. "Nana" (Ruark) Matherly, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, July 1, 2021

11:00am - 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Graveside Service

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

East New Market Cemetery

Maryland 16, East New Market, MD

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