Dearly loved, Gay Harkins was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. She added much to the lives around her with her loving spirit and giving nature. Family was by far Gay's greatest joy and in them she found those who knew and loved her best. She enjoyed the company of family and good friends, and held fast to living a life of integrity filled with honesty. Although she is deeply missed, the memories Gay leaves behind are a one-of-a-kind legacy to be forever treasured.
Born on July 24, 1937, in the beautiful city of Gainesville, Georgia, the birth of Gaynell "Gay" to Blanche Satterfield added to the big family and farm of John and Ethel Satterfield. It was the year of the New Deal, Amelia Earhart, aviation pioneer, was lost over the South Pacific and the explosion of the Hindenburg marked the end of the airship era. Although life continued to be a struggle for families, the Satterfield family was strong in size, land, and love.
Raised in Gainesville, Georgia with her brother, Wallace (brother), and aunts and uncles, Bertie, Hoyt, George, Marylou, James, Loy, Blanche, Ralph, Kay, Earl, and Janet. The Satterfield Family raised children, livestock, and crops of all varieties . Gay learned to cook at an early age. Although she fast became Grandpa's favorite "child," she spent much of her time hanging around the kitchen with her Grandma Satterfield. It was the time she developed her love of cooking and baking with Grandma teaching her how to make the best biscuits and gravy and cobblers in Hall County. Gay is still well known for her poundcakes and biscuits and gravy, with that legacy forever a part of how she is remembered.
In this small Hall County community, Gay and Alton (Benny A Harkins) found one another at Riverbend School. Years after Al graduated and joined the Air Force he returned to his hometown to marry his sweetheart. April 10, 1955, an Easter Sunday with Hal Smallwood officiating over the private ceremony, Gay and Al became man and wife. Since Al had "snuck" away from the base, he was in a rush to get back with his new bride before being discovered AWOL. Brownie Smallwood sent them off with a basket full of boiled painted and dyed Easter Eggs to eat "up the road."
It was only the beginning of what would become 59 years of a wonderful, deep and abiding love and marriage. To their union they welcomed the births of their three children. Teresa Gay their firstborn came along in 1956, followed by Susan Marie in 1959, and Bruce Allen in 1965.
Gay was not only a mom to her own children, but the Harkins house was a gathering place for many of the neighborhood children. All were welcome in her home where she would often feed the other kids and scold them when appropriate. In addition, Gay was supportive of all her children's endeavors. From sporting events to school functions, Gay encouraged her kids in every way.
Treasured times were shared as a family on vacations, especially camping, when the kids were young. Later, she and Al enjoyed traveling with a travel trailer visiting North Georgia and Florida and any place they could follow their oldest daughter as part of her work travels. Gay especially cherished the trip she and Al took to Nashville, TN for their 50th wedding anniversary with their children and grandchildren.
Family was always near and dear to Gay's heart. She always looked forward to everyone getting together at Christmas and Thanksgiving where Gay was in charge of her delicious dressing and a Christmas Eve hors d'oeuvres table that rivaled the Biltmore. Family was indeed Gay's greatest joy and she loved nothing more than having everyone together.
Gaynell Satterfield Harkins, Gay as she was known throughout her life, passed away on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital of heart failure after a bout of bronchitus. She was preceded in death by her husband, Benny Alton Harkins.
Gay is survived by her children: Teresa (Mark) Lindauer of Newnan, GA and Battle Creek, MI, Sue (Randy) Luckie of Leesburg, GA, and Bruce Harkins of Cornelia, GA as well as her brother, Wallace (Anne) Bouchard of Gainesville, GA. She is also survived by five grandchildren, Eric, Aaron, Brent, Kyle, and Breanna and eight great-grandchildren, Luke, Kaitlyn, Rylee, Wyatt, Kinsley, Sophia, Sutherland, and Gerhard.
There will be a visitation held for Mrs. Harkins on Wednesday June 12, 2019 from 6-8 PM at Memorial Park Funeral Home in Gainesville, GA. with funeral service Thursday June 13, 2019 at 2 PM at Dewberry Baptist Church #2 at 4558 Cleveland Hwy. Gainesville, GA.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Down Syndrome Association of Southwest Georgia, PO Box 1142, Leesburg, GA 31763.
You may sign our online guestbook and share your own special thoughts with the family of Mrs. Harkins by visiting Kimbrell-Stern's website at www.kimbrellstern.com
Kimbrell-Stern Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements.
Albany, GA 31707