Arkansas residents held a memorial service today for local celebrity, Ellen, an elephant who could paint and play the harmonica.

Ellen was a local gem for 57 years of her life before she died "from a stroke or heart attack" at the age of 60.

For decades, children and adults visited the Asian elephant, celebrated her birthdays and watched her paint abstracts that were sold at zoo auctions to raise money for new projects.

Ellen arrived at the Little Rock Zoo in 1954 from New York via Thailand. She was purchased with funds from a local philanthropist who wanted the zoo's first elephant, Ruth, to have a playmate.

"Ellen had a mind of her own," said David Westbrook, a former zoo director. "She was a rebellious elephant but beloved."

Ellen the artistic elephant mourned in Arkansas [Reuters]