Autism advocate passes away

A passionate community activist and close friend of the KLFY News Ten family, died Wednesday morning.

Many in Acadiana are mourning the loss of 50-year-old Vickie Nettles, a longtime advocate for autism research. Nettles served as Administrative Assistant at the Autism Society of Acadiana. After her youngest daughter’s diagnosis, she made it her mission in life to learn more about the disorder.

Board President Robyn Blackwell said Nettles left her mark on the community.

“She impacted so many people in this community, in Acadiana and in Louisiana. I don’t think she ever realized how many lives she touched,” said Blackwell.

Fellow autism advocate and friend Kristen Melancon said Nettles played a major role in creating an organization at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that brings Autism Awareness.

“She helped me through every hill, every stumble, everything and eventually throughout a few months we were able to do it together,” said Melancon.

Blackwell said the society will always remember Nettles through their work.

“To honor her legacy and to honor her memory is to continue working to help more families with people with disabilities such as autism,” said Blackwell.

Many that knew Nettles, such as Brittany Altom, said she was the most giving person.

“She was selfless and would put other people before herself. She was one of those people that would give you the shirt off of her back,”said Altom.

Melancon said Nettles leaves behind a legacy of love.

“She would want people to remember her as an advocate for the community, but also as a loving mother to her children. That was her everything. Everyone will know her as the woman who gave this life her all,” said Melancon.

Nettles is survived by her husband, children and grandchildren.

Her visitation will be held this Friday, August 8th from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Martin and Castille Funeral Home, Downtown.  Followed by funeral services Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Vickie Nettles’ name to the Autism Society of Acadiana 

Obituary via Martin & Castille

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at a 10:00 AM Service in La Chapelle de Martin & Castille for Vickie Nettles, 50, who passed away on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at Lafayette General Medical Center.

Interment will be in Lafayette Memorial Park.

Reverend 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.

A native and resident of Lafayette, Vickie Nettles dedicated her career and much of her free time to the Autism Society of Acadiana. She was a loving wife, mother, daughter, grandmother and friend to all who knew her and will be dearly missed.

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 on Friday, August 8, 2014 from 9:00 AM until 9:00 PM and on Saturday, from 8:00 AM 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 Rd, Lafayette, LA 70508.

View the obituary and guestbook online at

Martin & Castille-DOWNTOWN-330 St. Landry St., Lafayette, LA 70506, 337-234-2311

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Vickie Nettles please visit our Sympathy Store

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