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John Ehle: Writer and Visionary

John Ehle and Rosemary Harris with ceramist Tom Spleth at a Penland event in 2002.

Novelist John Ehle has died at age 92. He was the author of 17 books of fiction and nonfiction, including “The Winter People” and “The Journey of the August King.”

As a special assistant to North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford he helped create the North Carolina Governor’s School and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He is also counted, along with Sanford and Governor James Hunt, as one of the founders of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

John shared a long marriage with the actress Rosemary Harris; the actress Jennifer Ehle is their daughter. The Ehle family often spent time at their cabin near Penland School, and John and Rosemary supported the school over many decades. John was particularly close with Penland’s second director, Bill Brown, and worked with him on some of Penland’s first fundraising campaigns. He served on the board of trustees from 1981-1985 and was made an honorary trustee in 1987.

John Ehle will be remembered as a great writer, a great citizen of North Carolina, and a visionary of education. At Penland School of Crafts, he will also be remembered as a neighbor and a friend.

Read more about John Ehle’s remarkable life in this article from the Winston-Salem Journal.