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In Memoriam: Language Arts Teacher Elaine Cottrell Motley
A photo of Elaine Mosley (Cottrell) in front of a chalkboard covered in large writing

Elaine Cottrell Motley, 85, of Raleigh died on Feb. 10, 2023. She taught in the Middle School Language Arts Department at Ravenscroft in the 1970s and 1980s.

She was born in Asheville, attending Lee H. Edwards High School before becoming a Demon Deacon at Wake Forest University. She was a career teacher, coming to Ravenscroft in 1972 and retiring in the early 1980s.

Ravenscroft alumni from that era will remember the Medieval Festival that was her passion project throughout her tenure. Conceived as a way to engage Middle School students in literature, the festival became a schoolwide extravaganza featuring performances, jousting contests, an elaborate feast and more.

Today, the festival remains a beloved symbol of Ravenscroft’s distinctive approach to immersive, hands-on learning — and a source of cherished memories for many Ravens.

Motley and her husband, Charles, were active in the Wake County Shrine Club and Sunday School at Benson Memorial United Methodist Church. They enjoyed fishing and travel in their retirement. Her obituary notes, “Cooking and fussing for family holiday gatherings were a passion and a special joy for her large extended family and circle of friends and favorite neighbors.”

She was predeceased by her husband in 2014.

Services are planned for Saturday, Feb. 25, at Benson Memorial United Methodist Church. Additional details are available here.

Motley, in an old-fashioned dress, poses beside a papier mache horse

Elaine Cottrell (now Motley) at the Medieval Festival in 1981