Ellen Louise Nix
Ellen Louise Nix took her last breath December 26, 2015 in the arms of her two youngest daughters, Ellen and Bryn, in Dallas, Texas. She was 93 and had been recovering from a stroke since February.
Born in 1922 in Michigan City, Ind. to William and Rose Coar, she was the second of seven children. She graduated from high school in 1940 and enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago. Ellen was recruited into the United States Navy during World War ll working as a cartographer in the hydro-graphic office at the Pentagon. Though unaware of it at the time, she would take part in drawing some of the most famous maps of all time, targeting Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the war was over, she enrolled at the University of Miami where she fell in love with theatre. After graduating from the university, she joined the Bell Telephone Chorus on the radio and took acting and modeling jobs, and was one of the Halo shampoo girls.
Ellen moved from Ojai, Calif. to Ashland, Ore. in 1970 , with her five daughters, the family horse, and their dog, Nugget. She fell in love with Ashland for its theatre, its vibrant arts community, and the liberal arts college for her daughters. She taught art for the Ashland school district and continued to sculpt, paint, and write. The Nix household was one where creativity was encouraged and self-expression was valued. It was a house filled with music, poetry, dance, the visual arts, and a spiritual awareness of beauty. It was a female-dominated household with one very dynamic and unorthodox matriarch!
Ellen loved classical music and playing the piano. As she got older she took up playing the cello. The life-sized figures she sculpted out of paper made for an interesting crowd of people in her front room. Among them were Marcel Marceau, Luciano Pavarotti, and David Helfgott, all artists whom she dearly loved. Ellen followed the rhythms of her own soul and lived life unconventionally as an artist, a mother, a professional clown, a teacher, a poet, a musician, and a free spirit!
Ellen is survived by her daughters, Peny, Tedy, Zan, Bryn, and Ellen; her five grandchildren, Marico, Kaila, Amber, Ashley, and Brayden; her 2 great-grandchildren, twins, Wilhelm and Alexander; and her brother and sisters, Roger, Sylvia, Marcia, and Donna.
A celebration of Ellen's life will take place this summer in Ashland, the place she felt most at home. Afterward, her five daughters will take a road trip to spread her ashes in the other places they lived and which Ellen loved, including Ojai, Palm Springs, and the beaches between Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Her family wishes to thank all those in the Ashland community that enhanced her life with their presence and connection. She is deeply missed but her spirit lives on in the passion she had for her family, and in her belief in the power of art to transform lives. For further information on Ellen’s celebration of life, or to leave a message for her family, an online guestbook is provided at http://www.stonebriarfh.com/