Friend buys painting to benefit terminally-ill Southern Sweets owner, donates it to restaurant
By Dena Mellick, Associate editor
A friend of Southern Sweets owner Nancy Cole purchased a painting that two local artists put up for auction to raise money for the terminally-ill restaurateur.
Larry McDaniel, owner of Trinity Title Insurance in Decatur, purchased “Butterflies for Nancy,” an encaustic painting created by artists Kim McGill Stuart and Penny Treese.
“My wife and I discussed it, and I was going to be the successful bidder no matter what it took,” McDaniel said.
Cole and her husband, Phil Allen, took an encaustic painting class with Stuart and Treese several years ago. McDaniel said he and his wife took that same class with Cole and Allen, who is an artist himself. Many of Allen’s paintings are hanging in the Southern Sweets restaurant.
“My wife and I talked to Nancy about it because we went to Southern Sweets about three times a week for breakfast and lunch and became very close,” McDaniel said. “Nancy’s joy for life touched both Penny and Kim. It inspired them to do ‘Butterflies for Nancy.’”
Stuart said Nancy’s passion for painting was memorable. She said in an email that a check from the painting auction is going out to Nancy’s family.
McDaniel said he and Nancy had bonded over a shared love of cooking. His wife was undergoing lung cancer at the same time that Nancy was battling breast cancer. McDaniel said his wife has been clear of cancer for three years, and it’s especially hard to see their friend going through such a difficult time.
McDaniel said when he learned that the painting was to be auctioned off with funds going to Nancy Cole Care Fund, he felt “it was one more thing I could try to do to help that terrible situation.”
The Decatur business owner said the best place he could think of to put the painting was Southern Sweets.
“I have actually given the painting to Nancy’s family and Southern Sweets, and hopefully, if it’s not already hanging there, it will be hanging soon in Southern Sweets,” McDaniel said. “I mean it was ‘Butterflies for Nancy.’ What more fitting place for it to be than the bakery she created and loved.”