EATONTON, GA- Gertie Holmes Layson, native of Hiawassee and longtime resident of Eatonton, died Tuesday, February 4, 2014. She was born on September 9, 1931, to the late Truman Holmes and the late Stella Brown Holmes. Gertie is survived by her husband, Van, who she married on June 2, 1951 at the First United Methodist Church parsonage in Eatonton. They met while attending Young Harris College in Young Harris, Georgia, and made Eatonton their home in 1966.
She taught school for 31 years, beginning at age 18 at Shoal Creek School in White County, Georgia. Gertie spent 28 years teaching children in Putnam County. In 1993-1994, she was named Butler Baker Elementary School teacher of the year. One of her greatest joys was instilling curiosity into her students about the world and all of its creatures. For example, while teaching third grade she won a scholarship to visit Minnesota and observe sled dogs being trained for an Antarctic exploration. She brought back her experience and observations to the classroom and she and her students tracked the expedition as the explorers and their dogs moved across the frozen continent. To support future educators, she and Van established a scholarship fund at Young Harris College for students from the North Georgia or Western Carolina area pursuing a degree in elementary education. She was honored by the Young Harris College Alumni Association as a Distinguished Member of the Endowed Century Club, Class of 1950.
Gertie loved playing bridge, reading, playing Scrabble, traveling and making friends and family laugh. And everyone will remember how much she loved to walk and enjoy the birds and speak to everyone she met along the way. She and Van were members of the Rock'n Eagle Squares, a square dance club in Eatonton.
She will be greatly missed by her husband Van and her children; Bobby (Sandy) Layson of LaGrange; Steve Holmes Layson of Macon; Teresa Carol Layson of Burbank, CA ; and Jeannie (John) Layson Shiffer of Clifton, VA. She is also survived by sisters Imogene (Jerry) Turpin of Hiawassee and Anne Edwards of North Bend, Oregon; brothers Steve Holmes and Gerald (Wanda) Holmes of Hiawassee; 4 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and a number of other relatives.
Gertie was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Eatonton, where she was recently honored on Founder's Day for her longtime devotion and dedication to the church. Donations in her honor may be made to the First Baptist Church, Post Office Box 3400, Eatonton, Georgia 31024.
View online obituary at www.williamsfuneralhome.net
Williams Funeral Home of Eatonton (706)485-3303
Published in The Telegraph on Feb. 11, 2014