Nell Mohney

Nell Mohney, a Chattanooga author, columnist and church leader, died early Tuesday morning. She was 94.

She was the author of 13 books and wrote a column for the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times Free Press for 38 years.

Mohney, a native of Shelby, N.C., and a magna cum laude graduate of Greensboro College, also established several ministries at First-Centenary United Methodist Church, where her husband, Dr. Ralph Mohney Sr., was senior minister from 1967-1981.

Among those ministries was Positive Christian Singles, the first outreach to single adults in Chattanooga and a model for similar programs in other denominations.

"Everything that they did, this church has continued to build upon," said Doug Fairbanks, senior minister at First-Centenary Church. "You really cannot put a value on the contribution the Lord made through those two people — and will continue to make because of who Nell was with her writing and speaking. Their love of the Lord and of people is why this is a great church today."

Sue St. James, current president of Positive Christian Singles, said Mohney felt called almost 50 years ago to establish a ministry for singles when she was approached by a church member who was hurting as a single person and felt very alone.

"Thousands of singles have attended Positive Christian Singles throughout the years and have been blessed," she said. "I have been one and cannot begin to express my gratitude for this ministry. We support one another through happy times and sad times. We worship together, have fun, cry with one another through hard times, and are family to so many who otherwise would be alone."

Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, a longtime friend of Mohney's, wrote the forward for her book, "You Can Soar Like an Eagle," and was aware of her prowess as a nationally known speaker at business, professional and church organizations, including twice at the International Women's Conference at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.

"Nell made a difference in the lives of thousands of people who applauded her presentations," she said. "I marvel at her energy and at the influence that she had with audiences all over the country. People across all denominational and cultural barriers loved her seminars. Few left a meeting with her without finding that they had come to see their own tasks and lives in a newer and brighter light."

Mohney, who was named a Distinguished Alumna by Greensboro College and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Tennessee Wesleyan University, came to Chattanooga when her husband was named pastor of Centenary Methodist Church in 1965. Two years later, he engineered the merging of the downtown First and Centenary Methodist churches.

Rickie Pierce, retired associate head of Girls Preparatory School, was a member of the church when the couple arrived and with her husband, Charles, were members of a Sunday school class she taught for many years.

"Nell was a wonderful role model, mentor and friend to me for 50 years," she said. "I know of no one who has inspired so many people and influenced so many as she. The tenacity and perseverance she displayed right up to the last moments of her life were amazing."