Melissa Childress Smith Elliott

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Melissa Childress Smith Elliott

Early in the morning of October 28, 2019, while surrounded by her family, Melissa Childress Smith Elliott died peaceably in La Jolla California Oct 28th 2019 surrounded by her family.

She was the granddaughter of Pleas L. Childress Senior and Nell Henderson Childress of Ozona.

She was born in Kansas City, Missouri January 17, 1940, to Ethel and J. Neil Smith. She graduated from the Barstow School and went on to attend Hollins College in Virginia where she met her husband, Max Elliott, on a blind date.

Following a storybook wedding on Mackinac Island in 1960, Melissa and Max spent the next ten years in St. Louis, Missouri. Melissa attended Washington University where she studied in the Art Department. Max completed his medical training there which was followed by military service. In 1970 the family moved to LaJolla. From the time she was ten years old she visited her aunt and uncle Pleas and Geniece Childress and other relatives in Ozona during the Summer. She loved Ozona and her connection to her mother who died when she was a baby.

If a life can be distilled into a single word, that word for Melissa would be creativity.

Throughout her life Melissa’s creative spirit and energy were visible in the lives that she touched and the organizations that she supported. She lived a life of curiosity and looking, often seeing things which others did not, finding beauty in the ordinary. Her creativity was everywhere. It inspired drawing and painting classes in the garden, connecting many likeminded artists. It was evident in her homemaking style as she was an avid collector of interesting and beautiful objects. She could not pass up a promising estate sale. The image of her wearing tall gold colored boots, carrying the flag and out front as she led the Barber Tract Fourth of July Parade will forever be remembered in our neighborhood. Her creative energy led to dedicated connections with organizations and especially the The Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in LaJolla.

Melissa bonded with the Athenaeum, its staff and members, and was appreciated for her many contributions.

Melissa lived her life with grace and charm. To know her was to love her. She is survived by her husband, Max, and her four children, Max Jr. (Kaia Gantzel), Wyndham (Tom Jackson), John (Cameryn Townsend), Carter (Tiffany Denhardt) and by nine grandchildren: Sarah, Kelsey, Chloe, Spencer, Gwen, Max, Noah, Finn, and Miles.

A service was held at St James by the Sea Episcopal Church in LaJolla on Saturday, December 14. A Celebration of Life will take place at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in LaJolla on January 4 at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St James by the Sea, or to the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library.

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