Look for me in Rainbows

Time for me to go now, I won't say goodbye;

Look for me in rainbows, way up in the sky.

In the morning sunrise when all the world is new,

Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you.

Time for me to leave you, I won't say goodbye;

Look for me in rainbows, high up in the sky.

In the evening sunset, when all the world is through,

Just look for me and love me, and I'll be close to you.

It won't be forever, the day will come and then

My loving arms will hold you, when we meet again.

Time for us to part now, we won't say goodbye;

Look for me in rainbows, shining in the sky.

Every waking moment, and all your whole life through

Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you.

Just wish me to be near you,

And I'll be there with you.

Music and lyrics: Conn Bernard (1990). Vicki Brown

Don’t Cry for me

Don't cry for me now I have died, for I'm still here I'm by your side,

My body's gone but my soul's is here, please don't shed another tear,

I am still here I'm all around, only my body lies in the ground.

I am the snowflake that kisses your nose,

I am the frost, that nips your toes.

I am the sun ,bringing you light,

I am the star, shining so bright.

I am the rain, refreshing the earth,

I am the laughter, I am the mirth.

I am the bird, up in the sky,

I am the cloud, that's drifting by.

I am the thoughts, inside your head,

While I'm still there, I can't be dead.

Author unknown.



"For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains."

Links to articles in St. Croix newspaper:

Messages from Loved Ones

See all 25 comments

MARK & STACY GABY - December 17, 2011

The most impressive thing about Ellen was her huge capacity for her compassion for others, even as a very young child. When she was five or six, her great aunt Ellen “Toddy” Nixon passed away. Since Toddy had lived in Texas, Ellen didn’t know her or Uncle Tom all that well. Nevertheless, the morning after the funeral service, Uncle Tom pulled her aside after breakfast and said “I had a little note from someone on my pillow last night. Was that from you?” Ellen nodded. She had written a note that said “I am sorry you are sad.” Ellen immediately stated it was because she knew he had lost his wife. In the midst of a large family gathering, it seemed Ellen was looking out for someone who needed it the most.

Ellen seemed to intuitively know how to make others feel better. Once we were driving somewhere in North Georgia to spend the afternoon at a sliding rock in the river. By the time we had reached our destination, her cousin Brendan, was feeling hot in the car and not very well. He wasn’t much interested in sliding down any rock and going swimming. Ellen immediately volunteered to stay with him until he felt better. He recovered shortly thereafter and they were both able to enjoy an afternoon of sliding and swimming.

In recent years, Ellen’s enthusiasm for photography was always a way to top off fun time together. As much as she liked to photograph people, she also had a flair for the quirky and the offbeat, looking for the objects that didn’t “belong”. When she was in school, she had what she called “her black and white phase” and loved photographing objects that could tell a story. She loved beaten up old barns and rusty discarded objects. I once saw an old upright piano on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma and immediately had to text Ellen. I told her when I saw it, I thought of her and knew she would have loved to photograph it. She replied “LOL! I so would!”

Ellen always had a love for sharing the fun of simple pleasures with family members. Four years ago the Nettles came with Mom and Dad out to Edmond Oklahoma for the Thanksgiving weekend. Ellen showed her usual enthusiasm for everything going on around the house…helping in the kitchen, playing around with the cats, and getting outdoors while it was nice outside to enjoy the sun in the afternoon. Despite the fact that Jim has never shown much interest in college football, Ellen sat down with her Uncle Mark and quickly found herself wrapped up in the excitement of watching an LSU game against Arkansas. Above all, she had a real gift of sharing her love of life with others, and always left everybody feeling a little better than before!

Mark and Stacy Gaby


JIM- December 16, 2011

An update from Jim (from Caring Bridge)

Hello all, I'm currently in St. Croix with Eve.

I'm guessing most of you now know that our dear Ellen drowned in a freaky accident that happened on December 8, her mom's birthday.

We hiked into the Annaly Bay tide pools site where it happened Tuesday with a group of Ellen's friends here - so I could see it for myself. It is one of the most beautiful and sacred feeling places I've ever experienced. We set a shrine on a sheltered rock face and offered our prayers for Ellen, Barbara, and all beings. As it was a dangerous surf day, only I and 2 most experienced continued to the spot where it happened.

On the 8th, Ellen had ventured out to a meditation rock on the far side of one pool, when large swells started coming into shore. When called back by the group, she crossed that pool as a wave crashed over the wall. Unfortunately, given unusual seas, that particular pool has a hole in the rock that acts like a large drain which sucked her in. The hole connects to the ocean. When her body emerged, she was floating lifeless beyond the breakers.

I offered the last of Barbara's ashes that Ellen brought with her into the vortex created by the receding surf, with prayers that both their spirits be united and freed to journey on.

There will be a service and celebration of her life on the farm this Saturday at 4:00.

The services in Atlanta are at St. Luke's Episcopal at 1:00 Wed. the 21st.

Eve and I have been touched and strengthened by how much love and community Ellen has engendered here in the very short time of her adventure. She will truly be remembered forever.

With love,



Mrs. Akcakanat- December 16, 2011

I remember the first day I met Ellen. Into my classroom skips a sweet girl whose smile lit up the room. She introduced herself to me and I knew instantly this was a special student, eager to learn, curious, always asking questions and sooooooo creative! An art teachers dream! We would talk, and talk; I learned lots about Ellen and her life. She lived near me and at times I would drive her home and she would laugh at the way I always talked to the other drivers when they weren't driving properly. She was kind to my little boy and would talk about her cousins children whom she adored. Her art work was awesome! So creative and outside the box just like Ellen! One day she showed up at my home with a present for me, she had made a painting and said that she was gifting it to me, after all she informed me that I had taught her the technique. I told her she must sign ALL her work because when some of her pieces were hanging in the Louvre one day, I wanted people to know that I had one of her originals too! She laughed and then we would say silly French phrases.

One day my husband said : "You just missed Miss Smiley."( he named her that because of her unbelievable smile) she peddled here to inform you that those apples you like were back in the local farm stand she worked at, he held up a bag.The next day at school I brought in the bag and Ellen and I sat there and ate them during lunch. She would talk about her mother and how much she missed her, and how brilliant her dad was. Her sister Eve who could do anything. Her love for her Aunt Pam and Uncle Dale and them opening up their home to her. Ellen was kind to everyone, she had an uncanny way of making people smile by her zest for life. She truly made an impact on people once they met her, I think that was one of her gifts and she wasn't even aware of this, which made it all the more endearing. Our hearts will forever be empty from the loss of Ellen, but they will also be more filled with love for having known her. Rest in peace sweet Ellen.


Mrs. Akcakanat


JEAN GABY- December 15, 2011

Marvelous Monday

Ellen was so happy that day to be sharing some of "the fruits of her labors" from Elderberry Farm. She had returned from upstate New York where she had worked on an organic farm, returning with enough apples to share with the whole neighborhood! Ellen was excited about them and wanted to turn some of those heirloom apples into a delicious apple pie with me in my kitchen.

We spent the day making apple pie, taking time out for a few games of Double Solitaire - what happier time could a grandmother have with her granddaughter? My granddaughter, Ellen was always thinking of how to make someone happy. She loved bringing her friends over to swim, play games, enjoy lunch together and sip Coke floats.

That apple pie turned out to be the best one we had ever tasted. Thank you, Ellen, for giving me such a wonderful happy memory of that marvelous Monday, October 24, 2011!

One Proud Moment

It was a special Sunday service. Just how special it would be was yet to be seen. The church youth had just returned from an Appalachian Service Project Week the day before and Barbara had called to say that she would be joining us for the 11:00 a.m. service to honor all the youth and adult chaperones who were involved. Upon their arrival in the sanctuary we realized that Ellen was not joining us. At that moment Barbara pointed out in our church bulletin the name of the youth who would be delivering, from the pulpit, an account of the trip's accomplishments. That person was no other that fourteen-year-old Ellen - our granddaughter, Ellen Nettles. So young! So poised! She began to stand before a church full of eager listeners. How proud we were and especially did my heart swell as she began "... and as my Grandmother Jean Gaby was the one who encouraged me to take part in this very special project." Ellen had been chosen to speak by her peers who had been with her on that trip to Appalachia. We couldn't have been more proud of Ellen - not only for writing her account of the trip and having the courage to deliver it to the congregation, but most importantly, wanting to help those special people in Appalachia. She continued to travel with the A.S.P group for several more years.

- Jean Gaby


MATT - December 15, 2011

My connection with Ellen is complex, as it is for most of our family. Since the early 90's she has been my cousin, but our relationship as friends began when she moved from Decauter to the third story of 602 East Victory Drive, where she was, at the most, 10 blocks from the various apartments I resided in during her stay in Savannah. Because of our proximity and shared interest in similar music, arts, and ideas about life, we developed a strong friendship. Despite her legal troubles with alcohol, I would buy her beers, and wine, and, of course, Ellen's favorite...Bullet Bourbon. Andrea, Ellen, and I would hang out, sit around, and play Mario Party and drink and dance and laugh and cry and talk about death and dance and laugh and listen to the Smith's on repeat. "Oh, the alcoholic afternoons When we sat in your rooms They meant more to me than any living thing on earth." - Morrisey

Now, I just feel greedy for the time we had with Ellen. She impacted anyone who met her with such passion and intensity that there was a gigantic Ellen-sized crater left on the souls of anyone who she came in contact with. Given another 19 years, with no doubt she would have left that Ellen-sized crater on the rest of the world. The real losers in this situation are the millions yet to be impacted by Ellen Nettles. I love you so much.

James Matthew Hargroves



Before entering into the wonderful world of the Nettles family, I would always hear of "the cousins." The way Matt spoke of his family was unlike anything I had heard before. It seemed to me an almost mystical and impenetrable world, where I could be around but never in. Although I have now come to feel a part of the family, it was Ellen, with her unmatched sincerity, enthusiasm, and openness who first made me feel right at home. We had a unique bond right away, and grew close after she moved to Savannah. She would come over to our house with fresh veggies and we'd stand at the kitchen counter finishing off our concoctions before getting to the table. We'd spend the night laughing, looking at photos, and recording ourselves having conversations in silly voices. We cried about our moms and laughed about our dads. When I watched Marshall at the Victory Dr. house, Marshall and I would rush upstairs to see if Ellen was home and ask if we could look at her endless collection of cameras. I would be so worried that they would get broken, telling Marshall to be careful, while Ellen just sat back and glowed at the chance to share an interest with her young cousin. Ellen was a never ending source of joy and her curiosity was inspiring, the perfect cure to my own cynicism. She was some of the best company I've ever had, a true friend that will be hard to find again.

Ellen, I miss and love you,



STACY - December 14, 2011

A couple years ago at Christmas, Ellen and I got to talking about music and our favorite bands. When she found out I didn’t own any Death Cab for Cutie, she whipped out her laptop and started burning discs. A few hours later, I not only had every Death Cab album, but a whole stack of others too – probably 15 in all – that I “absolutely had to listen to!” And we’d spent time decorating each disc with colored markers while we laughed and talked about life, the universe and everything.



FRAZIER - December 14, 2011

One large advantage to having such a tight knit family is that we all have countless memories of each other. So when asked to come up with one specific memory of someone, it is, understandably, a difficult task. The cousins are more like siblings. Ellen was our sister. She was so kind and at times completely "bonkers." When we were little and on family vacation, Ellen, Eve, and Aunt Barbara would always have at least one night where they would make some kind of special treat such as brownies, cookies, or Uncle Jim's famous chocolate sauce over vanilla ice cream for us to enjoy. It is no secret that we Nettles have something of a sweet tooth. Ellen, however, was quite a character, and she would begin to make crazy faces, voices, and impersonations of who knows what, a trait i acredit to Aunt Barbara. She was a "goof ball" through and through. She never took life too seriously and realized the importance in having fun above all else. She lived her life to the fullest. There was never a dull moment with Ellen. We love our cousin, and she will forever live on in only the fondest of memories.

- Frazier


AVERILL - December 14, 2011

When I imagine a world that lives to its highest potential I imagine Ellen. She embodied our world as a brightness that seemed to envelope those that were drawn to her. Her basic operating system was kindness. And, her mission was to spread her light to others. She tended things: plants, animals, relationships; and she could do it with great seriousness or such silliness that a belly laugh was the only response that could be given. She had the quick, probing, contemplative mind of her father, Jim. And a need to care for and fiercely protect those she loved (and those she might yet love) was a gift her mother, Barbara, taught and brought to her. She looked for what was the best way to do whatever her heart or mind was occupied with…whether growing and feeding a friendship, a song, a garden or a hermit crab. Her sense of wonder was immeasurable and her laughter a contagion that would infect one quickly and surely. Her legacy to us, I believe, is to carry on and inhabit our worlds, those of our interiors and our exteriors small and large, with a devotion to being all that we are called to be and doing it with compassion, creativity and most of all kindness.

Love, Averill



My first memories of Ellen were from my family spending weekends in Decatur. We had so much fun in the playroom off of Ellen’s room. Carolyn, Ellen, Eve and I would play kitchen or put on puppet shows for each other. I love home videos of us singing and dancing to our parents as our audience in the living room. Followed by a molecule popping up on the screen and Ellen saying “Dad really?!” Then there are all the family vacation memories. From her telling me “if I can jump off the big tree then you can, I’m younger” while we were swimming at Devil’s Elbow to her giving the whole family pedicures, including Uncle Dale, Ellen always showed us how to live in the moment . I will cherish those late night conversations while we were going to sleep on the back porch of Lake Rabun. I will also treasure taking long walks listening to Ellen talk about her dreams or her next amazing adventure in life. Ellen was always so fun to be around - never a dull moment, that’s for sure! Just thinking about her goofy faces and strange, but hilarious voices she would make brings the biggest smile to my face. She knew how to cheer anyone up or at least make them crack a smile. Ellen could always make you feel better about yourself. She has helped me in so many ways. Ellen is beautiful, kind, funny, loving, intelligent, brave and so so so much more. If there’s one thing I am sure of, it is that Ellen lived her life to the fullest. I can’t wait for the day I am able to see her again. She truly touched my heart and brightened my life with her vibrant personality. Shine on El!




I will always treasure Ellen’s nurturing and maternal nature.  She not only showed this trait to Marshall and Hayden, but to her friends, pets, and me.  When I was pregnant with Hayden it seemed like she made it her daily task to make sure I was comfortable and had everything I needed.  She would often take Marshall on excursions so that I could get off my feet and take a break.  Upon giving birth to Hayden she was one of the first people in the room to meet her newest cousin.  She stared at him for hours just as a new mother stares at her infant in disbelief.  She would constantly look at his little fingers and his other tiny features and just say to me “Meg, he is so perfect right down to his little eye lashes.”  Ellen brought Hayden home from the hospital with us and just as soon as Jeff took the boys to the pool so I could get some quiet time she pulled my favorite beer out of the fridge. We enjoyed a much needed and anticipated beverage together and talked about the miracle lying in her arms.  She stayed with us that evening and fixed us dinner and made sure all of us were settled in with our new addition.  She and Hayden shared a very special bond and she always referred to him as “her” baby.  We were fortunate enough to spend the afternoon with Ellen when she came home for a day before heading out on her new adventure in St Croix.  We went down to Forsyth Park and had lunch from the café, which we enjoyed sitting outside by the playground.  She got to spend the afternoon with Marshall and Hayden climbing the rock wall, sliding, and lots of swinging.  We were blessed to have that time with her.  Hayden generally takes a while to warm up to someone new, but he remembered Ellen and was elated to see her.  I believe the bond the two of them shared will never be broken.  Her spirit will live on through “her” baby. 



Zach Smith

In Ellen's recent passing, I've been snapped back to a realization of time's impermanent and elusive nature. Ellen's spirit and enthusiasm for life and living reminds me of the absolute necessity for the consciousness of now and what it means to live fully and joyfully in one's pursuits and life discipline. We can never know just how long our time on this earth may be, but we can determine just how we choose to spend that time. We can present ourselves to the world with an attitude of hope and excitement for positive change and improvement. Ellen was one of those who always brought light and hope into the lives of those she met, with an attitude of discontent towards the status quo or anything resembling the usual, Ellen had a magnetism about her that would appeal to even the most perfect stranger. Just to watch Ellen make one of her crazy goofy faces, or listen to her voicemail recordings would banish any suspicions at the thought of a normal or usual girl. I remember Ellen telling me of how she felt at times when she just wasn't sure she fit in with the crowd, and how much she hoped to make a positive change in the world.

I shared an afternoon with Ellen about a year ago where we were able to paddle by kayak over to a favorite spot of mine out on the coast facing the warm Atlantic ocean, with the cool spring breeze in our face, warm sand under our toes, and new chutes of green spartina grass poking up through the marsh. It was a beautiful afternoon, and we both basked in the sun and the beauty of each others company in such a perfect place and time. Ellen was full of grins and silly faces on that afternoon. Much like her mother, she was a wonderful practitioner of humor and laughter. I will always remember Ellen's comical nature and playful attitude.

Ellen was also very encouraging and always quick to express how excited she was for the things that I was doing or working on. Often times I get so caught up in all the things I have to do or jobs I need to get done, I sometimes forget to take the time to stop and check on all those around me to make sure they are doing well and to offer encouragement as well. The last time I saw Ellen just before she left for St. Croix, i was sick and picking up some items from the health food shop down on Forsyth Park. Ellen walked into the store and just began bubbling over with excitable greetings and inquiries into my recent developments. I gave her a big hug and grabbed from my truck a cd of music I'd recently finished recording with my band. We both exclaimed how excited we were for each other and exchanged well wishes before our departure with a plan to reconvene during the upcoming holiday break.

I am so fortunate to have known Ellen Nettles, and blessed to have her as my cousin. She was a truly bright burning star, and we are all better for having shared time with her in our lives. It is a comfort knowing that Ellen was doing what she loved and following her passion fully. Ellen's spirit will truly live on and continue to be a bright force to all who remember her and smile. I know that she and her mother Barbara will be looking in on us, and whenever we need a friend or even a boost of encouragement and enthusiasm we'll only need to think of them for inspiration and guidance. We love you and thank you Ellen Nettles!

Love, Zach


Momma B Nettles

At an early age Ellen showed a strong preference for the beautiful over the mediocre. In a visit to see Granddaddy Nettles and "Mama B," the family members were sitting in our den dressed in our night attire and chatting about the events of the day. I had on a negligee from my recent trousseau. Ellen immediately wanted lacy, pretty clothing rather than the Carter's gown which had been put on her. She preferred frilly lace and silky fabric rather than the cotton pajamas she was wearing. I suggested that she be allowed to make her personal choice for one of mine. She was so pleased. Soon this beautiful little girl was descending the stairs with the lacy clothing on for her night's sleepwear. For the group she modeled her new attire, assured that her natural beauty had been greatly enhanced. Of course, she was beautiful to each of her admiring family. The desire to be attractive certainly continued as she developed into an outstanding young teenager, still with a penchant for personal charm and vivacity, as well as for physical appearance.

Momma B Nettles


Uncle Dale

Ellen has been a happy floating butterfly most of her life. While she lived with us her last two years of high school, she brought new life and light to our home. Ellen would float or skip up and down the stairs and always had a smile on her face as she greeted you. I have special memories of Ellen, driving her to and from school each day. The trip was about 10 minutes but always informative and interesting….school studies, classmates, teachers, schedules, friends and family. We never had to prod her to study or prepare papers as Ellen was an excellent student, graduating with honors. When she left for Auburn, N.Y. for an internship in organic farming, there was a huge void in our lives. Now, we will feel this void in our lives forever.

Uncle Dale


Lou, Merby and Kai Lego

Summer of 2011, Elderberry Pond, most evenings around dinner time…

”Where’s Ellen?” “Oh she went out to the hoop-house to pick some Basil, Green Zebra Tomatoes, and for sure some Ailsa Craig Onions, and who knows what else. She is making some fresh garden treats for us to have with our dinner.”

No one ever has or ever will make better use of the bounty of Elderberry Pond than Ellen. The evidence of this remains in the freezer. Pesto, Frozen Grapes, Panko crusted onion rings, eggplant and more. We are convinced a large part of the amazing energy she put into her farm chores was driven by her appetite for the creative (and delicious) salads, toppings and side dishes she produced for all of us to enjoy.

From the chores she liked best, feeding the pigs who came running to greet her, to those she liked least, thinning beets (Why should we pull out some of them just because they’re small?) all tasks were undertaken with boundless enthusiasm and always a smile.

No hour was too early or too late for Ellen to ask if she could help. In two months her devotion to the farm we have tended for thirty years became as obsessive as our own. She was, and in many ways will always be, a part of what we do, and why we do it.

To Kai, who has grown up with the farm, Ellen was an important connection to another part of his life, and this connection was comforting. He showed her his favorite spots, including “the falls” to which not just everyone gets invited. Speaking of “falls”, he tried his best to teach Ellen and I to STOP quickly on ice skates. Ellen and I decided it was probably better to go slow enough that quick STOPS were not essential. Kai now knows what it must be like to have a big sister, and we know how wonderful it would have been to have a daughter like Ellen.

We miss you Ellen, but were privileged to get to know you during your stay with us. The friends you made here on the farm and at the restaurant will remember you for many years to come.

Lou, Merby and Kai Lego


Aunt Pam

A sunflower is one of our simple flowers that brings such enjoyment. That simple flower stands alone, tall, strong and bright bringing sunshine into our hearts. Ellen loved sunflowers and like them she brought sunshine with her. Even though Ellen experienced sadness, frustration, and difficult challenges she remained our sweet Ellen ...tall, strong and a beautiful smile on her face. Her smile will always be in my heart.

Aunt Pam


Aunt Diane & Aunt Susan

Being around Ellen on the family vacations was always fun because she was always bubbling with excitement and creative ideas. We will always remember the vacation in the mountains when Ellen brought all the equipment and bottles and tubes for full pedicures. Soon all of the cousins were joining in. The family toes have never looked so good. Even the guys were sporting freshly painted toenails.

We will always remember her sparkly Christmas shoes. Of course, they were no match for Ellen's sparkling personality with the Mischievous twinkle in her eyes.

Aunt Diane & Aunt Susan


Aunt Debbie

As I assemble this book and look back at Ellen's lovely, expressive face, I am reminded of her exuberance for life and undaunted spirit. Ellen was always first to embark upon a new adventure with zeal and encouraged others to live life to the fullest. She enjoyed the company of others and always made each of us feel loved. The genuine affection for her family and friends was documented in countless photos, as she held us in her warm embrace. Those images of smiling Ellen with Granddaddy, Grandmamma B, her cousins, and other family members are permanently etched in my memory.

Although I have many wonderful memories of Ellen during our summer vacations, my favorite images of Ellen were those of her when she was a young girl at Christmas at the Victory Drive house with her cousins and Granddaddy Santa. She was a beautiful little elf, delivering gifts to the family with her sister in matching outfits, complete with sparkling shoes for the occasion. Along with the other elf cousins, she spread excitement and joy with each gift delivered.

Aunt Debbie


Bill Howard

Many of us go through life attempting to follow a path that we believe everyone thinks we should travel. As we mature it becomes easy to identify those that walk freely with confidence; free from inhibitions caused by what the world expects, purposely forging one's way through unfamiliar places seeking the unexpected and doing it with a smile. From my prospective Ellen portrayed such freedom and I believe these traits were obtained from the widely diversified contributions of all the family units she grew from. You know Ellen's Smile for which I write, so let's agree as we begin our walk forward, not to lose sight of ourselves. In doing so, we can seek a piece of Ellen's Smile each day.

Bill Howard


Hannah Howard

Ellen had the biggest heart for people. My best memories always are those that happened at family vacations. I always cherished the times I had with Ellen because I looked up to her so much. She always knew how to brighten up someone's day with her silly faces and goofy voices. At family vacations and even every other place we went with the family, Ellen always included me in what the older cousins were doing even though I was the youngest. She was always someone you could go to to talk to about anything. One day at Lake Rabun Ellen and I spent an hour or so just canoeing and talking about her life. Looking back on that now, I realize just how much she really touched my life in that moment. Ellen was never afraid to admit to the wrong she did and would give me advice to help me avoid similar trouble.

My cousin was never afraid to try something new. When we were little we were closer than we have been as we grew older. I always wished that we lived closer to the family to be around them more often. There wasn't a vacation that went by that that I wished would continue longer. The main thing I will always remember about Ellen is she did what she wanted to and lived the life she wanted. She went after what she wanted and didn't let anything get in the way. And as a result of this, she has touched many people's lives, including mine. I hope by the time I get to be 19 I can achieve my dreams like she did and continue my life pushing through anything that gets in the way. There are no words to explain how much Ellen will be missed!

Rest in peace, Ellen, I love you!

You may be gone but you will never be forgotten.

Hannah Howard


Angie Howard- Oldest Cousin

Ever since Ellen was a small child, she had the gift of loving the life in which she lived. Ellen was full of compassion for everything, from the smallest seedling to largest oak. She had a special relationship with each one of us in our large family. Always offering a helping hand or an open ear, she was full of empathy for all living things. As I try to think of a specific memory or special occasion, there is no real way to separate one from another because Ellen was such an integrated part of all our lives. Ellen was truly doing what she loved and following her dreams.

“Live the life you Love, Love the life you Live,” to me Ellen embodied this quote. I Love and will miss you Ellen. You will always hold a Special place in my heart!

Angie Howard- Oldest Cousin



Some of my fondest memories are because of Ellen. I remember how she always had a great plan to do something fun and exciting, and even though we were the same age I’ve always looked up to her for her outgoing and adventuresome nature. I think my favorite memories of Ellen happened during our family vacation to Lake Rabun in 2010. I remember that at first I was bummed out because the only cousins that would be there would be me, Ellen, Hannah, and Marshall. I now cherish that week that I got to spend getting to know Ellen better. We spent most of the days floating in the water just talking about our lives and the trials and tribulations we were facing at that point in time. It was nice to do this because even though we were close growing up, during our early teenage years we never got to see each other as much as we hoped, only twice a year- Christmas and summer vacation. One day as we were sitting there, we had the brilliant idea to dye our hair blue… We brought Hannah into our scheme, and somehow obtained the blue hair dye. The whole event makes me laugh when I think back to it; we had no idea what we were doing. First, the directions told us we had to bleach the part of our hair we were going to dye. This however, was not accomplished because of the umm… “faulty” bleach ingredients. We then moved onto the actual blue dye and proceeded to dye the under part of our hair blue, sacrificing several towels in the process. When the adults found out, we were told we would be bathing in the lake the rest of the week so as to not ruin the showers. Ellen, of course, bathed in the lake with no argument.

Ellen had the talent of making you laugh, no matter what. She had many different voices she would throw out, faces she would make, and witty anecdotes inserted at the perfect point of a conversation. Ellen inspires me to live fully, she wasn’t afraid to take chances. She pursued her dreams and ambitions to the fullest. I hope that I can live as fully in my entire life as she did in just 19 years. She was one of a kind, and one of the best cousins I could ask for.

Rest in Peace Ellen, I love you.



Mettie & Abby

On one of the many evenings I spent with Ellen in Savannah, she brought me and my roommates Abby and Joy up to her cozy treasure trove of a room in Pam and Dale's house. Ellen showed us her collections: beautiful photos taken with her sharp, artistic eye, her plants and hermit crabs flourishing even in the dark attic under the care of her green thumb, and all the mementos given to her by people that fell under her incredible spell. She told us stories of growing up and living healthy, and we were captivated. She was stronger and more beautiful than anyone we'd ever met. Ellen never stopped giving; she cared for everyone and everything, with a kindness and a world-weary wisdom that was so far beyond her nineteen years. As we headed down the stairs at the end of the night, Joy looked at me with wide eyes. She whispered in my ear, "is Ellen even real?" Ellen was the stuff of poetry, of music, of dreams and magic; like a fairytale in an ancient book. We love you so much, baby.

Mettie & Abby.