N. Beth Line paints ‘Ellen’s Courage’ on the traffic box at Stop 11 and Bluff roads to honor her late friend, Ellen Huddleston
Ellen Huddleston was the depiction of courage. Throughout her battle with diabetes and cancer, she still managed to put a smile on the face of everyone around her.
Ellen, 57, passed away April 13, 2017. To honor her memory and hopefully inspire other’s to persevere through their own battles, Ellen’s friend, N. Beth Line, designed and painted a mural titled Ellen’s Courage on a traffic box at the intersection of Stop 11 and Bluff roads.
“It’s for the family, but it’s also for the community that she was so very closely tied to,” Line said. “She affected so many. We’re hoping to affect others as well.”
The mural is bright and colorful, with a photograph of Ellen in the center, taken from the time she ran the Warrior Dash and jumped over a row of fire.
“The whole picture puts a lot of words into her character,” said Ellen’s son, Sam. “She loved to challenge herself. She loved people to be challenged with her. She never complained about anything. This is a reminder every day of how she impacts people around her, still. With her diabetes and cancer, she ran a mini marathon. Not a lot of people would consider doing that. That was the type of person she was. I’m glad that somebody like Beth did something so nice to honor her. We’re thankful that we’re able to be a part of it, too.”
The smaller details in the image represent the elements of life, Line said, which include DNA, atoms, cancer cells plus flowers, leaves, hearts and bubbles.
“She’s hurdling over it,” Beth said. “It speaks about what her courage was. She really had a battle. But this woman never stepped down from any battle she ever had. Her spirit was incredible. People here in the community may or may not know what they’re seeing when they drive by, but we at least hope that they see something that they’re happy about.”
Ellen and her husband Rick Huddleston had two children, Sam and Ben, and two grandsons. Ellen worked at Center Grove Middle School and was the announcer at football games.
“She made an effort to know the students not only on her side, but on the opposing side,” said Diane Hein, coworker and friend. “She did a lot of good things but took it just a little further than what other people think to do. She called names out on both sides. When they got a touchdown, she hoorayed for them. She wanted our team to win, but she gave them credit where credit was due.”
Ellen’s family and friends drove by throughout the painting process late July, and gathered together near the end to discuss the tribute.
“I’ve never seen more of an outpouring of love from everybody, from the Center Grove football program from the bantam to varsity, the people from our church at Friedens, even her high school friends from Jeffersonville,” Rick said. “Our pastor said he has never met anyone like Ellen Huddleston. He’s never met anyone with more courage. She basically gave everything to everybody.”
Ellen was able to see an image of the future mural before she passed away. The Southside traffic box took more than 45 hours to complete.
“There’s a lot of great people that pass on every day,” Ben said. “But it’s rare to have someone that has such an effect on people that when a tragedy like this happens, they want to get up and do something to honor her, change something about their life or a tribute in this way. It’s great to see. It shines a brighter light on what you think of your mother.”