Autism advocate Vickie Nettles dies unexpectedly

by Leslie Turk

Nettles died suddenly Wednesday while recovering from gall bladder surgery.

[Editor's Note: This story has been updated with information on funeral arrangements.]

Photo by Robin May

The IND Media family and the entire Lafayette community is devastated by the loss of Vickie Nettles, 50, who died suddenly Wednesday morning at Lafayette General Medical Center.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at a 10 a.m. service in La Chapelle de Martin & Castille Downtown. Interment will be in Lafayette Memorial Park.

The Lafayette advocate for autism awareness was a beacon of hope for many, honest in the challenges facing the autism community and a relentless mother who sought to better Acadiana through her work with the Autism Society of Acadiana.

Nettles had been recovering from gall bladder surgery, and the cause of her death has not been made public at this time. The unexpected loss was evident on your Facebook page where right before lunch time Wednesday comments turned from scores of get well wishes to condolences to her family, friends and those who benefitted from her willingness to advocate on behalf of those with disabilities.

Nettles was a Lafayette native who graduated from Northside High School in 1981, according to her Facebook page.

Nettles became an IND Family blogger recently. Click here to read her latest contribution.

The Rev. Bert Langley will conduct the funeral services. Karen Broussard, organist and soloist, will sing for the services.

Survivors include her husband, Charlie Nettles; her step-daughter, Nichole Robicheaux; her son, Richard Charles Nettles; and daughters Laura Elizabeth Nettles and Catherine Marie Nettles; her mother, Judy Sonnier David, and her husband, Gayle; five sisters, Laurie Leal, Rose Puckett and her husband, Robert, Rhonda Allen and her husband, Ronald, Tifani Leal and Susan Domingue; and two grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her father, Chano Leal Jr.

Pallbearers will be Mike Sonnier, Robert Nettles, Lee Carricut, Bruce Baudoin II, Ronnie Allen and Robert Puckett.

Honorary Pallbearers will be Gayle David, Richard Nettles and Rusty Chastant.

The family requests that visitation be observed in Martin & Castille's Downtown location Friday, Aug. 8 from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and on Saturday, from 8 a.m. until time of service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Vickie Nettles' name to the Autism Society of Acadiana at 3108 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette, LA 70508.