Nellie E. Vidakovich, 68

Nellie E. Vidakovich, age 68, went to be with her King on Wednesday, April 4, 2024, in Deer Lodge, Tennessee. She passed away from complications due to cancer. Her son, Milan Vidakovich, was by her side.

Nellie was born in Oneonta, Alabama on October 3, 1955. As a child, she was fond of all animals and even kept a baby alligator as a pet. In her youth as well as into her adult years she lived in areas throughout the Midwest including Illinois, Michigan, and Oklahoma. She began her family with the birth of her first son, Tony Yarbro. Within the next few years, she brought Rikki Spear, Sofija Duffing, and Milan Vidakovich into the world. Nellie is survived by all four of her children as well as her siblings, Donald, and Raymond Guiltner. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Christopher and Andrew Yarbro and Donnie, Harley, and Skilynn Hughes. Additionally, she is survived by her great-grandchildren, Raylen Thompson and Audrianna and Kolton Yarbro.

Nellie had an eclectic set of gifts. She was fond of sewing and could thread a needle without looking. She crocheted and knitted everything from baby clothes to Afghan blankets. She enjoyed painting with oils and pastels. She loved to cook and had an award-winning chili recipe. However, her real passion in life was to care for those who could not care for themselves — including stray animals. Nellie loved dogs and volunteered at an animal shelter while living in Oklahoma.

Nellie’s education was focused on helping those in need. She obtained an associate’s degree in psychology to aid in her early career as a caregiver for the develop-mentally disabled. She bestowed great personal attention upon her patients — often inviting them to family events and holiday banquets. She acquired further certifications when necessary to ensure the best care for her patients who she treated with the utmost respect and kindness.

Approaching midlife, Nellie made major changes in her profession and place of residence. She relocated to Wartburg, Tennessee, and began a career as an assembly line worker. This chapter of her life was marked by good health and happiness. Though she thoroughly enjoyed the lake-side cabin in which she resided, she was focused on saving for a home of her own and devoted her free time to spoiling her beloved dog, Jr., as well as gardening and decorating.

Nellie’s later years were, unfortunately, marred by health problems. She still appreciated spending time with animals, but COPD and mobility issues made it difficult for her to enjoy outdoor activities. She retired early and was cared for by her family. In late 2023, she was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the lungs. The cancer quickly metastasized to her brain and later her liver. By the grace of God, her suffering was not extensive and she rested peacefully in her final days, surrounded by those closest to her.

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