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Donnie's Story

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Donnie Elaine Gimlin Gwaltney was born October 14, 1936 in Doniphan, Missouri to Vera Clauise King Gimlin and Ivan Amos Gimlin, and went to be with the Lord November 14, 2017 in Athens, Texas. When she was in elementary school, the family moved to Sikeston, Missouri where she grew up and graduated from high school. It was there that she met Charles Franklin Gwaltney, Jr. They married April 6, 1957, and began a lifelong ministry and loving marriage. Donnie served alongside Charles in Southern Baptist churches in Kennett, Missouri, Jonesboro, Arkansas, San Antonio, Texas, Athens, Texas, Albany, Georgia, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, back to San Antonio, and then back to Athens in 1996 to retire on Lake Athens. She enjoyed serving at the Food Pantry, FBC homebound ministry, Meals of Kindness, Literary Guild and FBC Clothing ministry. She served in children's ministry, music ministry, cradle roll, taught Sunday School, and sang in the choir. She had many gifts and passions.
A faithful, supportive wife for 42 years, she loved Charles more the day he died than the day she married him. Donnie and Charles raised 3 children, Jennifer, Julie and Peter, with a true and real love for the Lord. They welcomed and loved as their own, in laws, John Margeson, Chuck Byrd, and Ginny Sills. My Donnie to 12 grandchildren and 9-3/4 great-grandchildren, she prayed for, loved and adored them all. Her greatest gift was her love for Jesus, her spirit of joy, enthusiasm for life, confidence in her faith, and hugs.
It was hard to pass by her without getting a hug. Her smile shined brilliantly with the love of Christ. She prepared her family and her friends for her home going with anticipation and joy. She made her home at Arabella of Athens Assisted Living for the last 3 years where she found a ministry and called it her happy place.
Welcoming her to heaven with joy are her parents, husband Charles, brothers Buell Gimlin and Dewey Gimlin, sisters Clauise Magers and Ivena Porter, son-in-law John Margeson. She is survived, and will be missed by daughters Jennifer Margeson, Julie Byrd and husband Chuck, son Peter Gwaltney and wife Ginny, and grandchildren Matt Margeson, Meghan Margeson Deagan (Phil), Holt Margeson (Katie), JP Gwaltney (Anna), Chad Byrd (Barbara), Aimee Zachary, Lindsey Todd, Nathan Byrd (Alexa), Ryan Johnson (Zac), Cassidy Dupas (Karmen), Mary Hannah Byrd and Gray Gwaltney. She is also survived by sister Margaret Beth McCord and brother-in-law Ray McCord, sisters-in-law Janet Gwaltney, Vaudean Gimlin and Joan Putnam.
Nine great-grandchildren with a 10th on the way.
The family wishes to thank the staff and residents of Arabella of Athens for loving and serving our Donnie, and making her final years ones of joy and celebration.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to First Baptist Church of Athens Refresh Campaign, or St. Jude Children's Hospital.
Visitation is on Thursday, November 16, 2017 from 5-7 PM at Autry's Carroll-Lehr Funeral Home. Funeral will be on Friday, November 17, 2017 at 1 PM at First Baptist Church Athens "ROC" Building with Rev. Kyle Henderson officiating. Arrangements by Autry's Carroll-Lehr Funeral Home.
Published on November 15, 2017
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