Imogene Louise Findlay Gilbert was born in Portland, Maine on September 6, 1932. She lived a fulfilled and generous life of 86 years, and died peacefully in Athens, Georgia on July 3, 2019.
Her life’s journey included service in the U. S. Air Force, fifty-plus years as a dedicated wife, sixty-plus years as a nurturing mother, thirty-nine years as a doting grandmother, fifteen years as a magnificent great-grandmother, and a lifetime as matriarch to a loving family.
Jeanie, as she was known by family and friends, attended high school in Calais and Portland, Maine, and was active in Glee Club, Softball, Art and English clubs, before graduating with honors and enlisting in the U. S. Air Force WAF program.
During her military service, Jeanie met and married the love of her life, the late Fred A. Gilbert, on October 26, 1951. The Air Force took them from Ohio and Oklahoma to Texas; before they selected Georgia as their forever home.
Jeanie gave birth to her only child Jeanine while attending The University of Georgia and working at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. She and Fred worked multiple jobs while he attended undergraduate and Law school, before moving to Atlanta in the early 60’s.
Throughout her years in Athens, Decatur, Waleska and Atlanta, Jeanie kept her heart and home open to numerous family members and friends, providing a loving and safe place to many in need. Throughout her adult life Jeanie remained very close and committed to her sister Virginia, who followed Jeanie to Georgia and also lived there for the remainder of her life.
A devout Catholic, Jeanie remained active in the church well into her 80’s, and traveled twice to Rome, Italy to visit the Vatican with her friends and family. She led the Altar Guild of St. Matthews Church in Winder, Georgia, where she was as active part of the church community.
Jeanie was preceded in death by her husband Fred, her parents James Roland Findlay and Mabel Day Findlay, and her sisters Virginia, Pauline, Joan and Sandra. She is survived by her sister Lorraine Flood of Bangor, Maine, daughter Jeanine Gilbert Russell and Charles Russell of Athens, Georgia, granddaughters Ansley Clouse (Jason) of Flowery Branch, Georgia, Adrian Hower (Jason) of Braselton, Georgia, grandson Blake Russell (Lindsay) of Sandy Springs, Georgia, and Grant Bigilin of Jacksonville, Florida.
Jeanie’s greatest achievement in life was sharing her wisdom, guidance, humor and love with three generations of her family, including eight great-grandchildren. They are her legacy.
Family and friends will gather for a celebration of life on Sunday, August 11, 2019 at 4pm, at St. Matthews Catholic Church in Winder, Georgia, with reception following in Hedges Hall. In lieu of flowers, gifts or donations may be offered to the St. Matthews Church Alter Guild, Winder, Georgia. Lord & Stephens of Athens, Georgia, will handle private arrangements for the family.