Kathryn Chappell Nettles

Published 8:07 am Friday, July 1, 2011

WAKEFIELD—Kathryn Chappell Nettles, 72, of Wakefield, Va., died Thursday, June 30, 2011, after a tenacious six-year struggle against cancer.

Kitty, as she was known, was born in 1938 in Clarksville, Va., to R. Harvey and Edna Lumpkin Chappell, and was raised and educated in Richmond, Va.

She attended the College of William and Mary, where she met and married Edwin Carter Nettles Jr. of Wakefield. Carter Nettles, former longtime Sussex County Commonwealth’s Attorney, predeceased Kitty in 2008. The two, who were married for 50 years, are survived by three children, Bryar Chappell Nettles of Chesterfield, Kathryn Carter Nettles of Boston, Mass., and Edwin Carter Nettles III of Wakefield; and a granddaughter, Kathryn Sandberg Brodell of Richmond.

While Kitty’s route to her bachelor’s degree took a circuitous path and spanned some 24 years, she ultimately combined credits from Richard Bland and Virginia State Universities, with full-time student status at the College of William and Mary and a Jamestown Ferry commute to receive a B.A. degree from William and Mary in 1984.

To make it more cause for celebration, that graduation saw her daughter, Bryar, graduate from Marshall-Wythe School of Law (W&M), and her brother, R. Harvey Chappell Jr. receive an honorary doctorate as a former Rector of the College.

Kitty’s first career, and one which she acquitted herself with aplomb, was that of a wife and mother. But after mastering all the home arts: cooking, canning, furniture-refinishing, sewing, upholstery, embroidery, needlepoint and even a little crewel-work, she moved on to charcoal sketching, pastel still-lifes, and most importantly the watercolors which she consistently and fruitfully pursued as part of a wide-ranging creative life.

By virtue of more than a dozen solo exhibitions, and juried exhibitions by such organizations as the Virginia Watercolor Society, Kentucky Watercolor Society, the Southern Watercolor Society and the Knickerbocker Artists of New York, Kitty built a solid regional reputation as an artist. Her career spanned decades and also included stints as an arts educator; as a gubernatorially-appointed Commissioner on the Virginia Commission for the Arts; as a board member of the Wakefield Foundation Center for the Arts, the Petersburg Art League and as a founding member of the Blackwater Artist League in Courtland.

Kitty’s artistic sense and eye for beauty informed her decisions, her life, her surroundings. And so it is appropriate these last days of June were spent among the beautiful gardens of boxwood, ivy and herbs she planted on a blank hill four decades ago and tended with caring constancy until this day.

The family will receive friends at the Wakefield Chapel of J.T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home on Saturday, July 2, 2011, from 4 to 6 p.m. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 3, 2011, at the funeral home with Rev. Macon Walton officiating.

Burial will follow in Wakefield Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Crater Community Hospice, 3916 South Crater Road, Petersburg, Va., 23805. Condolences may be registered at www.jtmorriss.com.