Servant of the Heart

First Presbyterian Church Beaufort Servant of the Heart


Nelle Pender was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina. When she was five years old her family including her two brothers moved to Marietta, Georgia where her parents still live. Nelle grew up as a First Presbyterian in Marietta.  As a child she was active in her church youth group forming life long friendships.  She has even kept in touch with two friends, often spending "girls' weekend with them on Fripp.  Nelle graduated from Georgia State University majoring in economics. Her first job  before children was a computer systems programmer.  Knowing the Nelle of today, that's seems like quite the confining job. 

Nelle has two children, Amanda and Sam Tatum.  She has been married to Hugh Gouldthorpe for twenty two years.  Nelle and Hugh lived in Richmond, Virginia but vacationed here since the early 80s when Nelle's parents bought a home on Fripp.  At that time they planned their retirement and moved to Beaufort in 2008.  While living in Virginia, Nelle and Hugh were active members of 2nd Presbyterian Church in Richmond.  There, Nelle was ordained as a deacon and an elder.  Here at First Presbyterian Nelle served as an elder. During her three years on session Nelle was an active chair of the youth committee.  She also participated in three rewarding church mission trips to West Virginia for the Ministry of Advocacy and Workcamps.  Two of the trips involved the youth of our church. 

The Presbyterian Women circles are Nelle's favorite part of our church.  Near and dear to her heart are Tuesday MornEng and the Geneva circles.  Nelle's wish would be for all our women to consider joining a circle.  She also loves the friendliness and the many friendships she has formed at First Presbyterian.

Nelle and Lolita Watson had the wonderful opportunity to go to Uganda with Water Mission.  They toured several villages and celebrated with two villages their new water systems coming on line. In Nelle's words, "It was an emotional trip, we take for granted clean water while 1.8 billion people in this world are without it." So you can see why Nelle believes the vision for our church would be to become more involved in mission efforts both local and worldwide. 

Nelle's favorite bible verses are:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21. For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

Something you may be surprised to learn about Nelle.  In 2009 she and her daughter, Amanda, climbed over 19,000 feet to the top of Kilimanjaro.  What a feat!  No wonder Hugh has to stay young to keep up with her. Hugh and Nelle love to travel. Recently they took trips to Alaska and Sicily.  I've heard their trips include a great deal of walking. This is a real joy for both of them and they hope to continue these travels for many years.  While at home they enjoy their time in Beaufort and at Fripp.  For the last two summers Nelle has been very active with the Loggerhead Turtle Team on Fripp and Pritchards Islands.  Nelle's inspiration comes from the amazing sunrises on the beach, watching the mother turtle dig a nest and lay her eggs and then in late summer seeing those small hatchlings making their way back to the ocean.  The female hatchlings will return in about twenty years and Nelle hopes to be on that beach to welcome them back! 

Nelle, we thank you for your devotion to this church and our Lord and Savior. You are truly a Servant of the Heart!




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Donna Lee Sheetz, May 2017

Owen Hand, October 2016

Peggy Fryer, July 2016

Whitney McDaniel, March 2016

Elaine Bailey, October 2015

John Lubkin, July 2015

Roxanne Cheney, April 2015

Bert LaGrone, January 2015 

Waneta Crawford, September 2014

Mary Foster, May 2014

Dewitt Helm, February 2014

Patsy Hand, November 2013

Theo Louise Woods, August 2013

Lolita T. Huckaby Watson, May 2013

Lee Stockell, Feb. 2013

Bob Gamble, Nov. 2013

Brantley Harvey, Jan. 2012


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