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Ellen Nettles Service Wednesday

Former Decatur resident, 19, drowned in St. Croix.

A memorial service for Ellen Elizabeth Nettles, a former Decatur resident who drowned in St. Croix, will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta.

She was . Madison Lewis, 19, was killed in a car wreck in Alabama. Her funeral was last week.

The U.S./Virgin Island Police Department said Ms. Nettles and friends were swimming in a tide pool at Annaly Bay when she was pulled under by the current.

Here is the obituary that appears on www.legacy.com:


NETTLES, Ellen Ellen Elizabeth Nettles Ellen Elizabeth Nettles (19), a Decatur native, drowned December 8th on St. Croix, VI.

Ellen was pursuing her passion for sustainable agriculture through an internship at the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute. She had recently completed a summer/fall internship at Elderberry Pond organic farm in Auburn, NY. Ellen's love for farming grew out of early experience gardening with her mother, Barbara Gaby Nettles, who died of cancer in April of 2009.

Ellen attended Atlanta International School, St. Thomas Moore, and City of Decatur Schools before relocating to Savannah after her mother's death. Ellen completed her Junior year at Memorial Day School, and graduated from Jenkin's High with honors.

Ellen lived her commitment to help people through volunteer activities, at Sunrise Retirement home, the Appalachian Service project through Decatur First United Methodist Church, youth activities at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and others.

While living in Savannah, Ellen worked at Polk's Fresh Market and Tybee Island Social Club which focused her vision on sustainable food production as a life goal.

She deferred college acceptance to gain real life experience in the field. A natural athlete, Ellen participated in cheerleading, softball, lacrosse, lifeguarding, and was also known for her artistic talents. She used her photographic eye and musical ear to produce magical creative works that continue to evoke joy.

Those who met Ellen were captivated by her welcoming smile and deep brown eyes surround by luminescent blond hair. She held his holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet as a role model for living a life filled with compassion and service.

She is survived by her father Jim and sister Eve, a research professor at Emory University and sculpture major at the University of Georgia respectively. She is the maternal grand-daughter of Martha Jean and the late Van R. Gaby of Suwanee and paternal grand-daughter of the late James H. and Melba Porter Nettles of Savannah and his present widow, Beulah Harper Nettles. Extended family survivors include paternal aunts and uncles Diane and Jeff Meseroll, Pamela and Dale Karacostas, Deborah N. Hargroves, Susan and Ray Smith, Tom and Debbie Harper, maternal uncle Mark L. Gaby and wife Stacy as well as a host of cousins on both sides of the family.

A celebration of her life will be held at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Atlanta on Wed. Dec. 21 at 1:00. In lieu of flowers, remembrances and gifts may be made to: Ellen Nettles Memorial Fund, Fidelity Bank, 160 Clairemont Ave., Decatur, Georgia 30030. Attention: Ann Berg.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that A memorial service was held on Saturday at the Ridge to Reef farm in St. Croix.

This is the third recent death of a young Decatur High grad.

Lisa Cohen December 20, 2011 at 10:43 AM
I think I can probably speak for many in our community in saying that we have also lost our 2 beautiful daughters this month. Both Ellen and Madison were amazing young women and had so much to offer to the world. In the short time they were on the planet, they'd accomplished so much and touched so many of us. My heart goes out to their families, and I hope the Lewis and Nettles families get some comfort in knowing how much we will all miss these girls. With love and light..namaste~Lisa

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