Birdie Jeanette Gay, 84, of Amarillo, Texas passed away on December 18, 2022. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 14 at 11 am, at First Baptist Church, Cuero, Texas. Friends and family are invited to attend.
Jeanette was born on July 19, 1938, in Calhoun County, Texas to William Allen Strain and Eunice May Shippey Strain. She was the third of seven children. Jeanette spent her younger childhood in Port O’Connor, Texas. Her family later moved to Rosenberg, Texas where she graduated from high school. Jeanette and her siblings were very close and remained so for their entire lives with bonds manifested by fierce love and loyalty to one another.
Jeanette earned a scholarship to nursing school at Polly Ryon Memorial Hospital in Fort Bend County. While in nursing school, she met the love of her life, Thomas Arthur Gay. They were married in 1956 in Cuero, Texas at First Baptist Church. Their children, Chuck and Jan, were born in Cuero. The family later moved to the Houston area and finally settled in Lake Jackson, Texas where they remained for 21 years.
Jeanette and Tom relocated to Baker, Louisiana in 1984 where they remained until Tom retired from banking in 1994. They returned to Cuero for five years until they chose to join Jan and her family in Amarillo, Texas for the final 20 years of their married lives.
During their 64 years together, Jeanette was Tom’s soulmate, anchor, and constant companion. For Chuck, his mother was a source of support and affirmation that was without parallel, and for Jan, she was a comfort and strength far exceeding her stature.
Jeanette and Tom enjoyed playing tennis and golf with the family, spending time with their grandchildren, and traveling with friends and relatives. She was a devoted wife and mother, remembered fondly for her hospitality, cooking, and constant presence at her children’s sporting events and other activities. She was a mighty prayer warrior, a long-time Sunday School teacher, and a woman who lived a life of service to her family, her community, and her God. Jeanette never met a stranger. She was an encourager, known for her sweet spirit, bright smile, and positive disposition. Even in her last few months, when she was no longer able to care for herself, her primary concern was for those around her.
Jeanette was preceded in death by her husband, Tom; her parents; her brother, Billy Strain, and sisters, Shirley Ohlinger (Ron) and Gloria Mills (Jimmy). She is survived by her sisters, Violet Poncik (Fred) and Linda Strakos (Craig), and brother, Bobby Strain (Marsha); children Chuck Gay (Rhonda) and Jan Wood (Ted McCollum); grandchildren Ty Wood (Taylor), Erin Wood, Allison Gay McElroy (Chase), and Kathryn Gay Andrus (Caleb); and great grandchildren Wyatt and Jack Wood, and Elle and Sophie McElroy.
We believe that when she breathed her last breath, she immediately opened her eyes and heard the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
We love you and miss you, Mom. We are the most blessed children in the world.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Loft funding, First Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas.