Ria Pell

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ria Pell was many things. A daughter, a chef, a local celebrity, a business owner, a lover of life. Ria passed away from heart complications last Sunday at the age of 45. Pell was the driving force behind Ria’s Bluebird, an old run-down liquor store that she turned into a local popular eatery off of Memorial Dr. in downtown Atlanta. Pell, who spent years in the kitchens of fine dining establishments all over the city, gained national notoriety after competing in and winning a season on the television series Chopped. She was also an active member of Atlanta‚Äôs LGBT community and a familiar figure in the Little Five Points punk music scene. Well over 1,000 people attended the funeral services for Ria on Saturday at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta. The crowd, who came to show support for friends and family, was so large that not everyone was able to come inside the standing room only chapel to witness the service. As Ria was transferred to her final resting place the crowd walked behind the hearse to the tunes of a New Orleans style band. Friends carried a picture of Pell as they followed to the graveside service. The services were marked by many tears and much laughter as family and those that knew Ria best reminisced over their lost friend.

Karen Portaleo (right), Ria Pell's partner, hugs friends and family before the start of the funeral service for Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Karen Portaleo (right), Ria Pell’s partner, hugs friends and family before the start of the funeral service for Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Lady Jane Meredith (right) hugs friends and family before the start of the funeral service for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Lady Jane Meredith (right) hugs friends and family before the start of the funeral service for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Well over 1,000 people attend the graveside services for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Well over 1,000 people attend the graveside services for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Steven Satterfield (center) hugs Jodi Fleck (left) and Katherine Perry before the start of the funeral service for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Steven Satterfield (center) hugs Jodi Fleck (left) and Katherine Perry before the start of the funeral service for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Cowboy McDaniel (left) helps the other pall bearers carry the casket of Ria Pell to the funeral service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Cowboy McDaniel (left) helps the other pall bearers carry the casket of Ria Pell to the funeral service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Professor Jas. M. Stacy (left) reads a passage from Dr. Seuss during the service for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Professor Jas. M. Stacy (left) reads a passage from Dr. Seuss during the service for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Professor Jas. M. Stacy (left) wipes tears from his eyes as he speaks during the service for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Professor Jas. M. Stacy (left) wipes tears from his eyes as he speaks during the service for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Well over 1,000 people attend the graveside services for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Well over 1,000 people attend the graveside services for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Ben Cheeves (left) and Jason Deck carry the casket of Ria Pell towards a hearse at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Ben Cheeves (left) and Jason Deck carry the casket of Ria Pell towards a hearse at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Alex Skalicky (right) and the other pall bearers load the casket of Ria Pell into a hearse at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Alex Skalicky (right) and the other pall bearers load the casket of Ria Pell into a hearse at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Jason Deck (right), Kate Schoenke and Ethan Sudan carry a picture of Ria Pell to the graveside service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Jason Deck (right), Kate Schoenke and Ethan Sudan carry a picture of Ria Pell to the graveside service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

The hearse carrying Ria Pell is followed by well over 1,000 people as it leads to the graveside service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

The hearse carrying Ria Pell is followed by well over 1,000 people as it leads to the graveside service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Ethan Sudan (left) and Kate Schoenke carry a picture of Ria Pell to the graveside service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Ethan Sudan (left) and Kate Schoenke carry a picture of Ria Pell to the graveside service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Pall bearers carry the casket of Ria Pell to the graveside service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Pall bearers carry the casket of Ria Pell to the graveside service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Well over 1,000 people attend the graveside services for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Well over 1,000 people attend the graveside services for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Blair Smoker (left) wipes tears from her eyes as she is held by Darren Sanders during the graveside service for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Blair Smoker (left) wipes tears from her eyes as she is held by Darren Sanders during the graveside service for Ria Pell at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Gigi Gits (right) signs the casket of Ria Pell at the Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Gigi Gits (right) signs the casket of Ria Pell at the Westview Cemetery in Atlanta on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Sister Ursla Polari (left) and Cristy Nolton stand inside Ria's Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Sister Ursla Polari (left) and Cristy Nolton stand inside Ria’s Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Flowers surround a photo of Ria Pell inside Ria's Bluebird in Atlanta after her funeral on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Flowers surround a photo of Ria Pell inside Ria’s Bluebird in Atlanta after her funeral on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Helen Lee (left) and Blake Parris stand in line as they get a bite to eat inside Ria's Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Helen Lee (left) and Blake Parris stand in line as they get a bite to eat inside Ria’s Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Steve Carr (left) and his wife Barbara Henry eat at the family table inside Ria's Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Steve Carr (left) and his wife Barbara Henry eat at the family table inside Ria’s Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Robin Swinks (left) talks to Jessie Montoro and Kate Schoenke outside of Ria's Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Robin Swinks (left) talks to Jessie Montoro and Kate Schoenke outside of Ria’s Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Luis Ponce (left) hugs Adam Darby outside of Ria's Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Luis Ponce (left) hugs Adam Darby outside of Ria’s Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

Gabriella Oviedo (left) spoons food onto her plate as people mingle both inside and outside of Ria's Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Gabriella Oviedo (left) spoons food onto her plate as people mingle both inside and outside of Ria’s Bluebird in Atlanta after the funeral for Ria Pell on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

 

#riapell #riasbluebird #atlanta #chopped #funeral

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