Gayle Hancock Childress
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Asheville - Gayle Hancock Childress, 85, avid hiker, gifted storyteller, and committed humanitarian, died peacefully on December 3, 2012. Quick to make friends, she formed diverse and devoted relationships for over 60 years in the Asheville community. Gayle participated in groups including Girl Scouts, Asheville Storytelling Circle, Bridging Differences, and two book clubs: American Association of University Women and Malaprop's. A certified volunteer at the Mediation Center for 12 years and leader of numerous civic organizations, she delighted in learning new things and enjoying people. Gayle was a board member and volunteer at The Rathbun Center Hospitality House.
Born in Springfield, Missouri, she grew up in many places around the country but found her home in North Carolina. A devoted Tarheel and cheerleader for Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice, Gayle met her husband of 48 years, Gran, at UNC. She taught at Durham Academy and Dorminy Dance Studio before they moved to Asheville in 1960 and immersed themselves in the community. They were proud founding members of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) and worked to protect the mountains they loved. Gran passed away in 1998.
Known as Mimi, Gayle delighted in her family and is survived by her children and their spouses Susan and Randy McCracken of Asheville, Leesa and Todd Sluder of Mooresville, NC, and Mark and Kate Childress of Crozet, VA, and her grandchildren Morgan Sluder, Mason Sluder, Kristen and husband Micah Wohlford, and Scott Frankel.
A member of Central United Methodist Church for over 50 years, and one of the founders of Stephen Ministry, Gayle served in many capacities in the life of the church. A memorial service will be held at Central UMC on Friday, December 7 at 2:00 p.m. The family will receive friends immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to SAHC, The Rathbun Center, or Central UMC.
Morris Funeral Home, 304 Merrimon Avenue is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent through the website www.morrisfamilyfuneralhome.com
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times from Dec. 5 to Dec. 6, 2012