My Dear Georgia

Oct
3

I’ve waited several days to write this post. Partly because I wanted to give time for the immediate family to be notified, and partly because I needed some time myself to put my thoughts together. Not that I can ever put my thoughts together properly in this case.

The obituary, written by my cousin, Mark Sergent.


Georgia Pauline Sergent, 84, of Johnson Creek, Walton, West Virginia passed away at home on September 28, 2014. She was born at Cass, Pocahontas County, West Virginia on February 7, 1930, a daughter of the late Robert Brooks and Esta Long Reed of Glenville.

Georgia graduated from Glenville High School, obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Home Economics from Glenville State College and a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from the West Virginia University College of Graduate Studies. She was employed as a WVU Extension Home Demonstration Agent for several years and served in several counties when she met her future husband, the late Robert Sergent of Walton, then a fellow WVU 4-H agent. Robert and Georgia were married twice, once at Glenville and again at Jackson’s Mills Girls’ State 4-H Camp in the Formal Rose Garden. Robert later worked with the USDA Farmers Home Administration as a County Supervisor, covering over one half of West Virginia’s counties, The couple resided in Romney, Philippi, Moundsville, Elkview, Kingwood, Wayne and Winfield gaining many lifelong friends. Georgia enjoyed working with children and taught in the 1960’s at the Winfield Methodist Church-sponsored kindergarten.

Georgia and Robert retired to the Sergent family farm in 1978, joining the Methodist Class of the Walton Union Church. She was active in teaching Sunday school, youth ministries, and the Outreach Committee, making home visits to shut-ins. Georgia and Robert were blessed in traveling twice to the Holy Land. Georgia enjoyed gardening, cooking, canning and sewing. She shared her garden produce with the community, especially senior citizens. Robert and Georgia loved to operate their “Bed and Breakfast without the Breakfast” at the 100 year old family farmhouse for friends, relatives, and neighbors in need. She enjoyed local history and helped republish “Bishop’s History of Roane County” and helped publish the “Roane County West Virginia Family History Book”. She was a member and past president of the Roane County Friends of the Library and, along with the community, helped fund the building of the Walton Branch Library. Late in life, Georgia shared her farm and homemaking skills with cousin and author, Suzanne McMinn, and was cast as a romance novel character in “A Weekend Engagement” by McMinn. Georgia was a regular feature in McMinn’s “chickensintheroad.com” blog. Georgia was active in the 4-H program, the founding adult leader of the Winfield Scotts 4-H club, a WV 4-H All Star, and she lived by the All Star motto, “Service”.

Georgia is survived by her son, Mark Sergent and wife, Sheryl, of Walton and one grandson, Madison Sergent, of Morgantown. She is survived by brothers and wives: Bob (Cricket) Reed, A. J. “Jack” (Wanda) Reed, Nelson Reed, brother-in-law, Richard “Dick” Reed (husband of late sister, Marion Reed) all of Glenville, and many nephews, nieces and cousins.

A memorial service will be held at the Walton Union Church, Walton, West Virginia on October 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM followed by a fellowship dinner sponsored by the church. A private burial service will be held later at the Sergent Family Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Friends of the Roane County Library c/o Spencer Library, 110 Parking Plaza, Spencer, West Virginia 25276 or the Roane County 4-H Foundation,` P.O. Box 105, Spencer, West Virginia 25276. The Taylor-Vandale Funeral Home, of Spencer, assisted with the arrangements.

When I went on A Ride in Stringtown on Sunday, I arrived at the unloading point for the four-wheeler (my cousin’s farm) early. I wanted to take some extra time to visit. I’d brought a batch of pepperoni rolls for Mark, but I was too early, their house was dark, so I left them in their fridge, and went next door to wander sentimentally through the Slanted Little House. After a time, I sat in one of the rocking chairs on the front porch, then decided to go see Georgia. My cousin came out of his house and waved to me, a pepperoni roll in hand, and I called out to him that I was going to see Georgia. I went into her house, found her in bed, and sat down in the chair beside her bed and knew instantly. Yet did not want to believe it. I knew my cousin was on his way to his morning check on his mama, so I waited.

My cousin is a very calm person.

Which I am not.

So when he confirmed that she had passed away in her sleep, I burst into tears.

Because he was supposed to WAKE HER UP.

I wasn’t Georgia’s niece, by the way. People often ask me why I call my cousin’s mother my cousin’s mother instead of my aunt. Georgia was not my aunt. My “cousin” Mark (Georgia’s son) is actually my second cousin, and Georgia is the wife of my dad’s first cousin, so she is technically the wife of my first cousin-once-removed. That is a mouthful, so I’ve always called her my cousin’s mother. As I wrote in my book and on my website, Georgia was “the lady of the manor, a workhorse, a slave driver, Miss Marple, and Martha Stewart all rolled into one.” To me, she was my stand-in mother, my grandmother, my best friend, my inspiration, my mentor, my pet.

“She came over to the Slanted Little House ten times a day, and if I was in the bathroom, she waited outside the door. With my mail. Or a plate of sandwiches. Or orders to come help her hoe.

She suffered from macular degeneration and liked me to drive her places.

She’d come over and say, ‘What time did you say you were going to town?’

Because I’m slow, I’d always say, ‘I wasn’t planning to go to town.’

She’d say, ‘Yes, you were. I need to go, too. Let’s go at ten.'”

Oh, my, that was my Georgia.

When I wanted to make that big change in my life and move to West Virginia, I went to Georgia. I asked her if I could live in the Slanted Little House. She said, without a second’s hesitation, “Of course, you’re family.”

If it had not been for Georgia, I would not be here. I would never have come to West Virginia. I would never have learned to can or so many other things that Georgia taught me. There would never have been a Chickens in the Road or a Clover or a Beulah Petunia or a Glory Bee or a Stringtown Rising or a Sassafras Farm or any of it. I would not have had the career and the ups and downs and joys and wonders. My children would not have grown up here and had the lives they have had. None of it would have happened except for Georgia.

NONE OF IT.

And while I try to figure out what it means to me, selfishly, that she’s gone, what I do know is what it means that she was here in the first place.

To me, selfishly.

I went on that day, eventually, to Stringtown, as I think Georgia would have wanted. She never understood how many people she touched. How many people learned to can because of her. How many people were inspired because of her. She never got on the internet and didn’t have more than the slightest idea that she was known outside of her own small town. Nor did she care! Georgia lived purely to serve, without thought of accolade.

As we sat in her house that morning, my cousin said to me, “You gave her a lot of purpose in her later years.”

I hope someday I will be worthy of the service she gave to me.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 3, 2014  

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Comments

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  1. 10-3
    8:27
    pm

    What a beautiful tribute – “Service”. I wish I’d known her. But I did, in some ways; not just through your blog, but because I grew up in Pinch, surrounded and raised up by women of her caliber. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. 10-3
    8:34
    pm

    Aww…Hugs. We send our sympathy to you and your family.

  3. 10-3
    8:41
    pm

    Life as all too short. We miss the saints who have gone before us. Rest in peace Georgia and prayers for strength for all the family.

  4. 10-3
    8:43
    pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. She was much loved.

  5. 10-3
    8:43
    pm

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. We will all miss Georgia.

  6. 10-3
    8:43
    pm

    Aww, I am so sorry. How wonderful it was that you had each other. My sincerest condolences.

  7. 10-3
    8:47
    pm

    May the memories give you peace at this difficult time.

  8. 10-3
    8:50
    pm

    We are all so sad hearing of the loss of this awesome lady who seems to have been inspirational in all that you have done in your life of times late. She may be gone but you have the most beautiful memories of her and the times and events that you will be reliving over and over in your mind forever. I would have loved knowing Georgia personally. Thank you for sharing your story and your personal loss with us all. Sending love to you with heartfelt sympathy. XO

  9. 10-3
    8:52
    pm

    Awe, Suzanne…I’m so sorry to hear that you have lost someone so close to your heart…although we had never met Ms.Georgia I so came to love reading all about her…May all of you find peace; knowing that she went so peacefully. Hugs to you all, Your post is such a tribute to her and your family.

  10. 10-3
    8:57
    pm

    Suzanne and Family. I am so very sorry for your loss of your sweet Georgia. I truly enjoyed every word you wrote about her. God Bless You All.

  11. 10-3
    8:58
    pm

    So sorry for your sorrow. It sounds like she lead a full and wonderful life.

  12. 10-3
    8:59
    pm

    I am so sorry to hear your sad news. Georgia has left a lasting legacy. She touched your life so much and as a result you have touched so many other lives with Chickens in the Road. If not for you I would not have my chickens, canning, baking and embracing the fact I do not have to be perfect. Kelly has brought out my imperfect painter self and made me a painter of sorts. Right now as I write this, I am dehydrating string beans. Hoping I will be successful and if not, I will try again. So this is a thank you to Georgia for being your angel and being your guide enabling you to also touch so many lives. Keeping you in prayer.

  13. 10-3
    9:01
    pm

    Such a lovely post about Georgia, your cousin, and your relationship. We all came to know and love her. She would have been a wonderful person to know in person. Thank you again for sharing her with us. So very sorry.

  14. 10-3
    9:05
    pm

    Oh Suzanne, I am so sorry to hear of this :( This is a beautiful post about what she meant to you and I’m sure she would be proud

  15. 10-3
    9:07
    pm

    THIS IS A SAD DAY ~ MADE HAPPY THROUGH MEMORIES.

  16. 10-3
    9:15
    pm

    An awesome tribute. Hugs to you and your family.

  17. 10-3
    9:17
    pm

    Oh so sad to hear that Georgia is no longer with us, but she will live on in many ways, not only through blood family but through the stories told and retold. She left like she lived I think – quietly, on her own terms. RIP Miss Georgia, you were a peach <3

  18. 10-3
    9:18
    pm

    After reading your blog for several years, I feel like I knew Georgia personally. I’m so sorry for your loss. We are all going to miss reading about her antics and adventures.

  19. 10-3
    9:18
    pm

    Oh Suzanne…….((((((huggs)))))) I’m so sorry…..

  20. 10-3
    9:24
    pm

    :? Sad to hear about Georgia. I hope you continue to write about her, as I think it would be a healing, loving tribute to such a beautiful woman.

  21. 10-3
    9:33
    pm

    I enjoyed all your “Georgia” posts, so much. Thank you for sharing her with all of us. That was a life well lived.

  22. 10-3
    9:43
    pm

    So sad to hear this. I enjoyed meeting her and loved all the stories. Thinking of you and your family. I’m sorry for your loss.

  23. 10-3
    9:48
    pm

    Such sad news. She was someone I had hoped to meet someday. You were so blessed to have her in your life. I believe she thoroughly enjoyed you living next to her in the slanted little house. Peace be with you.

    Margiesbooboo

  24. 10-3
    9:52
    pm

    You made her special for us too Suzanne.My condolences to your family.God blessed many through Miss Georgia.

  25. 10-3
    9:54
    pm

    So very very sorry for your loss. I loved hearing about your adventures with Georgia.She lives on in your family,through your eyes, and your Spirit…. Oh,Suzanne, may you be blessed with the good memories… and feel better soon….

  26. 10-3
    10:16
    pm

    I know Georgia will be greatly missed. Thanks for letting us know her some. :heart:

  27. 10-3
    10:37
    pm

    I am so sorry for you and your family’s loss. In reading your blog posts about Georgia over the years, she reminded me so much of my Mother: a character of great character! Though she will be greatly missed, may your many memories of her bring you comfort and joy in the future.

  28. 10-3
    10:39
    pm

    I Am so very sorry for your loss.

  29. 10-3
    11:06
    pm

    I saw the title and I knew without going further Georgia was gone. I didn’t really want to read the article because you always wrote so vividly about Georgia that she became a favorite great aunt for many of your readers. Some of my fondest blog posts are those with stories of Georgia. My sympathies to you, Mark, and all of your family. Loss of a loved one is never without a large void being left in your world. You were all truly blessed that she was with you so long and that her passing was peaceful. God bless you all during this very sad time.

  30. 10-3
    11:14
    pm

    My dear sweet Suzanne, I’m so sorry for your loss.. I was just wondering about Georgia the other day..Nothing hurts like the home going of a dear loved one. We will all miss her because you have given us Georgia to love with you. God BLESS you and lift you up. And, Yes it is a very suitable tribute.

  31. 10-4
    12:50
    am

    So very sorry…hugs to all who loved her. I will think of her when I make her apple dumplings…she will live on in the thoughts and actions of many who never met her in person, but came to love her through your writings.
    :heart:

  32. 10-4
    1:22
    am

    This is a beautiful tribute and Miss Georgia has touched us all far and wide. The little slanted house has given so many of us hope. My mom made Grandmother Bread yesterday and twice more in the week – she loves the recipe. I made cheese confidently yesterday in between tending to my 3 orphan lambs. The lambs have been gifts from a neighbour who has 95 old ewes Spring lambing. I have hay bales keeping me going through the drought we are having. I am going to make soap today, also happily, thanks to Chickensintheroad. I also have chickens in my road and a cow named Coco who feeds 3 calves herself and gives me milk. I milk her too – because you taught me – while Mis Georgia held you up.

    Thank you Miss Georgia and Suzanne for everything. Please ask her if she can switch the rains on for us here in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands.

    Much love.

  33. 10-4
    1:27
    am

    Suzanne I am so sorry about the passing of Georgia. Your stories of her always made me smile because I had my own Georgia and they were cut from the same cloth. Blessings sent to all who loved her.

    Mary

  34. 10-4
    4:03
    am

    Oh Suzanne! I’m so sorry to hear this. At least she passed peacefully… and had a good, long life, and passed so much on to you.

    My heart goes out to you. Stay strong. We love you.

  35. 10-4
    7:13
    am

    We are so very sorry to hear about the passing of Georgia, she touched so many lifes in so many ways.

  36. 10-4
    7:25
    am

    So sorry for your loss….praying.

  37. 10-4
    7:31
    am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I loved reading about Georgia. I love little ladies like her. Tough, feisty, capable, loving. The teachers, the mentors, the guides to those around them. Goodbye, Georgia.

  38. 10-4
    7:54
    am

    So sorry for your, Mark’s, and so many others’ loss. What a wonderful person, that Georgia, and my, how she enriched your life! And you hers. Hugs to you, my “friend.” So glad to see Ross is home.

  39. 10-4
    8:40
    am

    So sorry for your loss. You was blessed to have such a wonderful woman in your life to mentor and love you like she did. HUGS

  40. 10-4
    8:57
    am

    I am so sorry for your loss. You are right…she touched many lives through your book and blog. Hugs and prayers to all of you.

  41. 10-4
    12:15
    pm

    I saw the title of today’s post and took a deep breath before I began to read, preparing myself for what was to come. My sympathies to you and all the family. May your beautiful memories of your life with Georgia comfort you in the days ahead.

  42. 10-4
    12:17
    pm

    Georgia lived life on her own terms, right to the end. She was such a blessing in your life, and also you were a blessing to her. As cousin Mark said you gave much purpose to her later years. She touched many lives and many more through you. Such a great legacy to leave behind. To know you made a difference to so many. She will live on forever in your heart and memories. You continue to inspire many because of her influence. Rest in Peace, Georgia.

  43. 10-4
    1:37
    pm

    Through your blog I learned to love and respect Georgia. Her spirit and spunk in spite of her age and health infused your postings about her. Please tell Mark and Sheryl and the rest of her family that her love and wisdom spread much beyond her physical reach and touched many of us.

  44. 10-4
    2:50
    pm

    Truly, Georgia has been on my heart as I read your recent posts. I felt she was not well since you had not mentioned her lately. Georgia touched multitudes with a well-lived life. Sending love and prayers to you and all the family.

  45. 10-4
    3:50
    pm

    Suzanne I was sorry to learn of Georgia’s passing. She lived a full life and accomplished so much. I will miss the mention of her. But in a sense you have taken the baton that she passed to you in her own individual way. Prayers are with her family and you as all of you move on without her. Thanks for all you do.

  46. 10-4
    5:51
    pm

    So sorry to hear of your loss. What you wrote about Georgia was always so nice to read – entertaining and full of love for her. I’m sure she was a real treasure.

  47. 10-4
    6:05
    pm

    What a shock; what a loss. But what a blessing for HER to have simply gone to sleep, without suffering. May we all be inspired by her example of service.

  48. 10-4
    6:07
    pm

    Oh, Suzanne, I am so sorry for your loss. I loved reading your stories about her, and your tribute is wonderful. She has taught you well and through your retreats and workshops, you are channeling her by teaching others. Hugs and prayers to you and your family.

  49. 10-4
    7:15
    pm

    I am truly saddened to read that you have lost dear Georgia, and send my sincere condolences to you and yours.
    Your tribute is so lovely, and I know that maybe not now – but soon each time you do the things that Georgia taught you, you will think of her and smile.
    Hugs
    Rose H
    xx

  50. 10-4
    7:59
    pm

    Suzanne, Mark, and family, please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your dear Georgia. She touched us all and lives on through you. What a wonderful legacy. I was blessed to have met her. You and Mark honored her with your loving words.

  51. 10-4
    11:19
    pm

    You were both lucky women to have one another. I’m really sorry for your heartache Suzanne.

  52. 10-5
    1:31
    am

    I am so sorry for your loss. I wish that I could have met her in person as she sounds like a fantastic woman to be able to sit and talk with. Prayers and blessings for you and your family. She will be remembered in your writings of her.

  53. 10-5
    3:33
    am

    My dear Suzanne, I am so very sorry for your loss. Georgia sounded like such a treasure, and my sincere thanks for sharing her with all of us.

    I hope you don’t mind me sharing a story- Georgia plays a big part. My mother-in-law is widely known for her pies. They are just down-home perfection, and intimidating, quite frankly! I take pride in my own baking, especially my pecan and pumpkin pies, which I’ve made for my 2 families since I was 12. However, the first time I truly impressed my mother-in-law with my baking skills? Georgia’s Apple Dumplings.

    It is now one of my most treasured recipes, enjoyed each holiday by all three of my families as my “must bring” for celebrations. I’ve started teaching my little sister how to make them (she is 10.) Jo (my m-i-l) actually asked if I’m bringing them for Thanksgiving, because they’re “just wonderful” and also lets me make the pecan and pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving now!

    So- thanks to Georgia, and thanks to you, for this delicious thing that is so much more than a simple recipe. It is so loved by three families here in Austin, and we will take a moment this year in her honor.

    Hugs, love, comfort, and strength to you and all of your family. We love you.

  54. 10-5
    7:49
    pm

    I know your hearts will always miss her, but I hope the ache will soon turn to peace for all of your family. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  55. 10-5
    9:03
    pm

    Oh, Suzanne. My heart aches for you. I lost my aunt this week, too. Women like them don’t seem to be around much these days. My warmest sympathies to all of your family. Hugs, dear one.

  56. 10-5
    9:33
    pm

    Suzanne, I have tears in my eyes as I write to you. The world was a better place because of Georgia. You were blessed to have such a wonderful opportunity to have her in your life. What precious memories. :sheep:

  57. 10-6
    10:16
    am

    I’m sorry for your loss, you were undoubtedly blessed to have had such a wonderful woman in your life……may that console you.

  58. 10-6
    12:51
    pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. You’ve written a wonderful tribute, and brought a fascinating life to so many who now feel like they’ve met her.

  59. 10-6
    4:05
    pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Everyone’s loss, for there were so many there who loved her.
    I want to thank her for taking you under her wing and teaching you the things of life that she did, because through you, we all learned some valuable lessons in many things. I wish she had been my cousin, everyone needs a family member like her.
    Your tribute to her was beautiful, and made me feel as though I had been there with you all along. She was a beautiful lady and a wondrous spirit.

  60. 10-7
    8:58
    am

    Besides her family, Georgia has left a hole in many of your readers hearts, me included. I loved hearing your stories about her. She will surely be missed. My sincere sympathy to you, Suzanne, your cousin Mark and Sheryl and all of Georgia’s family. She is truly a rare treasure.

  61. 10-7
    2:48
    pm

    What year was she married at the Rose Garden at WV State 4-H Girls State Camp at Jackson’s Mill? I seem to remember an event such as this one of the years I attended in the early ’50s. Jeannette

  62. 10-7
    11:33
    pm

    Jeannette, The Rose Garden wedding was in 1954. Georgia was the Home Demonstration Agent in Lewis County (where Jackson’s Mill is located) and Bob was 4-H Agent in Upshur County (which is the next county over). Since they had married on November 1, 1953, they were the newlywed couple on the Girl’s State staff that year. Georgia made a quick drive down to Glenville to fetch her wedding dress for the “mock” wedding. I will post a couple of pictures from this event on Suzanne’s Facebook page to jog your memory of the event. The purpose of the event was to show the girls at the camp how to plan a wedding (soooo 1950’s).

    Mark and I say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has expressed sympathy via the blog and on Facebook. We are touched by the many ways you have shared that the Georgia stories touched your lives. She was truly a great lady, a humanitarian, a matriarch, a teacher, and most importantly, a friend, to everyone she encountered. We hope that you share the knowledge you have gained through Georgia and Suzanne with your families and communities so that her skills and legacy are preserved for future generations. God Bless you All! :heart:

  63. 10-12
    10:05
    am

    My sincere sympathy and great big hug to all of you, Suzanne and your family, and Mark and Cheryl and your family. She touched so many, she was a very giving person. I am so glad I was able to meet and talk with the woman who knew so much and touched so many. My heart is with you today at the memorial service :heart:

  64. 10-13
    9:48
    pm

    My deepest sympathy. I wish I had a Georgia in my life…but I shared your Georgia very gladly. May she rest in peace…and may she continue to be celebrated eternally. :hug:

  65. 10-15
    6:29
    pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Praying for you and everyone who is grieving.

  66. 10-17
    4:06
    pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and your family, especially to Mark. I feel fortunate to have gotten to know her second-hand through your posts, and aspire to be more like her. People like her leave a big hole in your life and in your heart when they’re gone.

  67. 10-20
    2:26
    pm

    I’m terribly sorry for your families loss.

    Georgia gave to you, you give to us and we give to others. Her legacy lives on.

  68. 10-20
    8:52
    pm

    So sorry to hear of Georgia’s passing. Sympathies for your families. She will be greatly missed by everyone whose lives she touched, including all the readers of this blog. But she isn’t really gone, is she? Every time you use a skill she taught you, a recipe of her’s, a phrase she used her legacy lives on in you. Prayers and much love.

    lavenderblue

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....






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