SANTA CRUZ -- Two brothers who died in a canoe accident at Lexington Reservoir on Sunday were remembered by their friends and family as a fun-loving pair who both worked for Apple.
Nicholas Xavier Nell, a 35-year-old from Scotts Valley, and Raymond Jacob Nell, a 30-year-old from Aptos, drowned after their canoe flipped in windy conditions, according to the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office.
Nick, as his friends called him, was married to Renee Goodrich for 11 years and worked as an iTunes corrections manager.
Ray was a mentor at an Apple retail store in Monterey. He graduated from San Lorenzo Valley High School and CSU Monterey Bay with a degree in education.
"They loved challenging themselves and each other with physical sports and elaborate word games and puns," the Nell family said in a statement Wednesday.
"They loved helping their friends and assisting people in need with no thought for recognition. They teased each other endlessly, and they stood together when any of their siblings needed support."
They are survived by their brother Ben Nell, sister Meggie Nell and parents Fernando Nell, of Scotts Valley and Diane Nell, of Felton.
Authorities have not said what caused the canoe to flip. The brothers' 16-year-old and 25-year-old cousins, who also were in the boat, swam to shore and survived.
No one was wearing a life jacket, which are required to be worn or readily accessible, San Mateo County sheriff's deputies said.
Nick was born in Newark in 1977 and Ray was born five years later in Felton. They attended Popper-Keizer School, now Spring Hill School, in Santa Cruz.
Nick graduated from York School in Monterey and UC Davis. He also was a member of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz.
Ray was not married but left behind his "soul mate" Amelia Urban, his family said. He collaborated on a website that contained poetry and photos at http://friendzwithwordz.wordpress.com.
"If ever a new post makes its way onto this page, it will be only as an honor to Ray's life," a post on the site stated.
Family of the Nell brothers said they "could not have been better sons, brothers or friends."
Follow Sentinel reporter Stephen Baxter on Twitter at Twitter.com/sbaxter--sc
VIEWING: A viewing for Nicholas and Raymond Nell will take place 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Santa Cruz Memorial Mortuary, 1927 Ocean St. Extension in Santa Cruz.
SERVICE: A service will be held 10 a.m. Saturday at Santa Cruz Bible Church, 440 Frederick St. in Santa Cruz. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Vintage Faith Church's outreach efforts at www.vintagechurch.org/onlinegiving.