Jessie Mae Gourley

Born on June 16, 1910

Departed on October 23, 2007 and resided in White House, TN

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GOURLEY, Jessie Mae O'Neal 97 of White House, TN passed away October 23, 2007. She is preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, Herman Gourley; sons, Raymond & Jodie Gourley; grandchildren, Wayne & Katrina Gourley. She is survived by her daughter, Lillie Mae Reese; 8 grandchildren; 21 great- grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild. Visitation will be Thursday from 2 to 8 pm and Friday from 12 to 2pm. Services will be 2pm Friday at Cole & Garrett Funeral Home in White House with Bro. Keith Howell officiating. Family & Friends will serve as pallbearers. Interment to follow at Hillcrest Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Heart Association, Middle Tennessee Chapter. COLE & GARRETT FUNERAL HOME, White House (615) 672-3936

2 Comments to Jessie Mae Gourley

  1. Camellia Webb - granddaughter
    December 8, 2012 12:00 am

    This was read at Grandmother’s funeral:
    Grandmother Gourley

    There will never be enough words to describe her : the warmth, the love, the sparkle in her blue eyes when she was having fun or the sense of adventure about life that always was there. She loved her family and that was the core of her being. She was never happier than when she was rocking a new grandbaby to sleep, attending a graduation, a wedding or whipping up a ‘little something’ to fill up our growling tummies. She loved to talk on the phone and stayed in touch with family, friends and neighbors that way long after she wasn’t able to walk to visit them as she did when she was younger. Jessie Mae loved being outside and working with her flowers and other plants, including a garden every year until she was no longer able. She had a “green thumb” that couldn’t be beat and a special touch that seemed to coax wilting violets back to life, rose cuttings to transform into a full bush, and seeds into thriving trees or bushes. And while she always delivered them in a loving way, she was never afraid to offer her opinions and her thoughts on any challenge we might be encountering along life’s winding way. Grandmother encouraged us to do the right thing, no matter how hard it might be and to keep trying, even when we wanted to give up. She cared for us when we were sick, she picked us up when we were defeated, cheered louder than anyone when we succeeded and showed off our pictures and told our stories to one and all. And she loved us regardless. She taught us to love life by living it to it’s fullest every day and never seemed to have any regrets or second thoughts. While many might look at her life and fail to see the value in what would seem to others to be just a simple farm wife, she showed us that an apparently simple and quiet life was a grand accomplishment. She had such a respect for life that even the deer, the rabbits and squirrels and other animals that frequented her yard or garden looking for a snack were appreciated when others might have looked at them as a pesky nuisance. She referred to them as “hers” and treated them as much like a pet as you can a wild thing.
    She loved a party and being in the center of it all. If there was music, she was dancing or at the very least tapping her foot. If there was a baby shower, or wedding shower, she was the first one ready to go. And if someone had a birthday she was ready to sing and deliver the famous “birthday spanking” along with stories of things she did “at that age.” Oh, and the stories she could tell! She was a historian to beat all others! She knew everyone for three counties, their lineage, their distant relatives and after a quick interview with pretty much anyone local, she could tell them their family history, where their land was and what kind of work they did. She swung on grapevines with us, she rode on the backs of our motorcycles, and played football in the backyard like she was 17 instead of 77. Fear didn’t seem to be part of her vocabulary.
    I loved her hands, because they were strong enough to push a mower, tighten mason jars that held yummy delights, wring a chicken’s neck or drive a tractor. But they were gentle enough to care for a dying husband, sooth a sick grandchild’s fever or heal a little bird’s broken wing. They made biscuits lighter than air, sewed doll clothes, and miniature models of her own poker bonnets to protect our little heads from the hot summer sun. They created meals out of nothing and were always full when she went to visit a sick neighbor or someone who had lost a loved one. And when you went to see her, those hands were always extended in welcome with arms that were ready to wrap around you and hug you.
    Jessie Mae Gourley was one of a kind : there will never be another like her and try as we might to fill them, the shoes she left behind are just too big for any of us to come close to fitting into. For 97 years she graced this world and our lives with hers. That’s a long time to work and she’s earned her rest. She’s not with us any longer in this world, but her feisty spirit and loving ways will live on in all of our hearts. Thank you Grandmother for those wonderful memories : we love you.

  2. Cole & Garrett Funeral Home
    December 8, 2012 12:00 am

    The staff of Cole & Garrett Funeral Home would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the Gourley Family.

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