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Visitation, Funeral Services Set for Tami and Jess Willadsen

Tami Willadsen and her daughter, Jess, died in an Avondale Estates house fire last weekend. Visitation is Wednesday night and funeral services are Thursday.

Tami Willadsen and her daughter, Jess, died in an Avondale Estates house fire last weekend. Credit: Go Fund Me website
Tami Willadsen and her daughter, Jess, died in an Avondale Estates house fire last weekend. Credit: Go Fund Me website

Funeral services for an Avondale Estates mother and her 10-year-old daughter, who died Saturday night in a house fire on Lakeshore Drive, will be held Thursday.

According to the obituary released by the city of Avondale Estates, services will be held at Avondale Estates First Baptist Church, 47 Covington Road at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 17. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16, at A.S. Turner & Sons funeral home, 2773 North Decatur Road.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Tami Willadsen and Jess Willadsen’s names to the Museum School of Avondale Estates or The Nature Conservancy in Georgia. 

Tami Willadsen, 43, and Jess Willadsen, 10, died in the blaze that consumed their house. Tami’s husband, Dave Willadsen, had minor burns, while their son, Jack, 5, is in the Grady Hospital burn unit.

Friends have established a Go Fund Me account to raise money for the family. You can click on the Go Fund Me link to find the Willadsen family page.

Here is the obituary distributed by the city of Avondale Estates and posted on Decaturish.com:

Tami Willadsen and her daughter, Jess Willadsen passed from this life together on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Services will be held at Avondale Estates First Baptist Church, 47 Covington Road on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 11 a.m. Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Wednesday April 16th at A.S. Turner & Sons funeral home, 2773 North Decatur Road. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Tami and Jess’s names to the Museum School of Avondale Estates or The Nature Conservancy in Georgia.

Jess was born Jess Seda Willadsen on September 28, 2003. She was “as bright as a penny,” an intelligent, beautiful and thoughtful girl. She loved her brother Jack, and was everything for him that a big sister should be. Jess attended the Museum School in Avondale Estates, where she excelled. She enjoyed learning to play piano, was a voracious reader, and loved squirrels. Last year, she successfully petitioned the Avondale Estates City Council for a “Squirrel Crossing” caution sign, which was proudly posted outside the Willadsen home on Exeter Drive. Her potential was limitless, her loss is unbearable, and she will be terribly missed.

Tami was born Tamara Kay Eifrid on December 5, 1970. As a young girl, Tami learned the value of family and work by helping out at the family business, Intown Hardware. She graduated from Druid Hills High School in Atlanta, and earned her bachelor's degree from Georgia State University at night while working a full time job.

In 1990, Tami fell in love with Dave Willadsen, a dashing young man who lived in the apartment above hers. Tami accepted Dave’s proposal of marriage at the Statue of Liberty in New York in the fall of 1994. They married on October 7, 1995, just two days after Hurricane Opal swept through Atlanta, in a one-room, converted stone church on Degress Avenue, in Inman Park. Even when the newlyweds’ honeymoon was cut short by a second hurricane, they were undeterred in beginning their happy, amazing life together. They grew their home to four, with the birth of Jess in 2003 and Jack in 2008, as well their careers, supporting and encouraging each other and countless family and friends. While every couple has its challenges, Tami and Dave were an example of a true partnership and true love. Anyone who met them could see how in love they were with each other, with their children, and with their wonderful life that they built together.

Only Tami’s devotion to her family and friends exceeded her devotion to the environment and her community. Last fall, she was thrilled to be named Director of Philanthropy for the Nature Conservancy in Georgia, where she had been working for nearly 15 years fundraising for conservation projects in Georgia and around the world. Tami delighted in getting out into the field, and toured several Nature Conservancy projects in Georgia and had the amazing opportunity to travel to Africa to see the work being done there. In her “spare” time, Tami also served as chairwoman of the board of EarthShare of Georgia and was the founding president of The Museum School Foundation, where she chaired the current capital fund raising campaign. She was also active in both the Decatur and Avondale Estates neighborhoods where the family lived. There is simply no way to sum up the life of such a beautiful, vibrant, confident, giving, loving person like Tami. The void left by her passing can never be filled.

In addition to Dave and Jack, Tami and Jess are survived by Tami’s mother, Arlene Eifrid, Tami’s father Joe Eifrid and his wife Michele Eifrid, Tami’s sister, Andrea Avery, Andrea’s husband Russell Avery, their daughter Taylor, Tami’s brother Joey Eifrid, Dave’s mother Carol Gerbing and her husband Chuck Gerbing, Dave’s father, Steve Willadsen and his wife Ronelle Willadsen, Dave’s sister Lori Bobal, her husband Steve Bobal and their daughters Jordan and Sara, and numerous additional family and friends. We will all carry Tami and Jess in our hearts forever.

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