Gay Nell McElhaney Walker
WAYNESBORO, Miss. – Long-time educator and community supporter Gay Nell McElhaney Walker died Wednesday, Sept. 10 at her Waynesboro, Miss., home.
She was 75 years old.
Walker was born in Atmore on Nov. 16, 1932, and spent time living and working in communities throughout the region, including Mobile, Monroeville, Frisco City and Bay Minette, and the last 39 in Waynesboro with her husband, Paul.
She often shared stories of her adventures in these and other places she had been over the years, as well as tales about her family members, acquaintances and many friends.
She served with the United States Air Force, and was a surgical technician during the Korean War.
In addition, she worked in civil service at the former Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, as a member of the training staff, in technical writing and as a secretary.
With the closure of Brookley AFB, she took a position at Pensacola, Fla., Naval Air Station.
She attended the University of Alabama, often speaking fondly of the school, and played trumpet in UA’s Million Dollar Band, and also attended the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in education, she was a fixture in classrooms in Alabama and Mississippi for 32 years — teaching at every grade level in schools in Monroeville and Mobile, and in Wayne County, to name a few locations.
Among the many subjects she taught and loved during her teaching years were English, literature, conversational Spanish and conversational German.
She also encouraged young people to get a quality education, including making plans to attend college after high school.
She initiated the Advanced Placement program in the Waynesboro-Central High School to help students gain college credits for advanced courses taken.
In terms of community involvement, Walker was a presence for many years in Waynesboro’s Little Theatre productions, was involved with the Order of the Eastern Star both in Mobile and Waynesboro, and was active in the local garden club.
She served as a den mother-teacher with the Cub Scouts during her time in Mobile.
She was also active in her beloved Philadelphus Presbyterian Church in Wayne County.
She always had a love for journalism, and was the author of the weekly Waynesboro community news column published for many years in “The Wayne County News.” The column highlighted activities ranging from news of community organizations to births and deaths of neighbors.
In addition to writing, Walker was an avid reader, who loved mystery novels and had an extensive collection of cookbooks gathered through the years.
Survivors include her husband, Paul Walker Sr., of Waynesboro, Miss.; her son, Rickey Bazelle Sr., and wife Lane of Bay Minette; three grandchildren, Rickey Bazelle Jr., Jessie Griffith and husband Josh, and Evan Bazelle; and a great-grandchild, Madison Griffith.
A memorial service was held at the First Presbyterian Church in Waynesboro beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008.
Another memorial service will be held at The Church of Christ on West First Street in Bay Minette at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of the South, P.O. Box 9693, Mobile, AL. 36691 or call 251-660-5661; or to the Order of the Eastern Star in supporting ESTARL ministerial students with memorial payment to be made to O.E.S. and mailed to Dorothy Parker, 1301 Walnut Street, Waynesboro, MS. 39367-2231.