Gay Lynn Emery Chism, age 77, died peacefully at home from natural causes on the evening of July 12, 2021, in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas.
She was born in Abilene, Taylor County, Texas, on September 30, 1943, to Day DeHart Emery, Jr. and Elizabeth Inez Morris. She attended grade schools in Bryan and Victoria, Texas, then in 1957, she moved with her family back to Abilene, where she graduated in 1961 from Abilene High School. Following graduation, she attended The University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, for two years, then returned to Abilene to attend The Hendrick Memorial Hospital School for Medical Record Administrators under the direction of her maternal aunt, Nettie Eloise (Tillie) Morris Odam. In 1965, she moved to Houston, Texas, where she worked a year from The Baptist Memorial Hospital System and in 1966 began working for The Methodist Hospital where she stayed until 1973.
On June 15, 1968, Gay Lynn was united in marriage to her childhood friend John (Jay) Ervin Chism, Jr., of Victoria, Texas. She, being Baptist, and he, being Catholic, were granted permission from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome to have a double ceremony, first in the Catholic Church, secondly in the Baptist Church. The couple exchanged afternoon vows at Sacred Heart and evening vows in The First Baptist Church in Abilene. The evening ceremony was officiated by her fraternal uncle, Dr. Joseph Leslie Emery, and the bride was given away by her first cousin, John Will Odam.
On February 18, 1973, the Chism’s welcomed twin daughters. Thereafter, in 1976, they moved from Houston to Richmond, Texas, where they resided until 1996. Between 1976 and 1979, she worked as a medical record consultant, then when her daughters began school, she turned to substitute teaching with the Fort Bend County schools. She had always been an avid swimmer, and in the summers, she taught swimming lessons for the American Red Cross to adults, children, and children with special needs. She attended the First Baptist Church in Rosenberg, Texas.
The Chism’s, in 1996, designed their dream home and built on the side of a hill overlooking the Wimberley Valley in the Texas Hill Country. For ten years, Gay Lynn and Jay used two of their rooms as a bed and breakfast, Cedar Hill Guest Quarters, to share their good fortune and beautiful surroundings with others. During that time, Gay Lynn volunteered and managed the Senior Citizens Thrift Shop and was a member of the First Baptist Church, the Wimberley Women’s Civic Club, New Neighbors, book clubs, and The Daughters of the American Revolution, leading from extensive genealogy research on her maternal grandmother’s family. She also played in a Ukulele band in New Braunfels weekly and played her Ukulele and Mandolin in the Comal County Golden Oldies Band with other Senior Citizens.
In 2006, they put their home on the market to become full-time RV’ers. Every family vacation since 1973 had been spent in one of many RVs they owned, and it was then that they made the decision to downsize to see more of the country they hadn’t seen. When their RV travels ended, they made their permanent home in Whitney, Texas.
Gay Lynn is survived by her husband, Jay, of 53 years and their daughters, Kelli Elizabeth Chism and husband Henry Joshua (Josh) Jones of Houston; Kristi Lynn Chism and husband Richard (Rick) Clarke Boyd of Burleson; her four wonderful grandchildren, Payson Scott Boyd (17), Henry Chism Jones (16), Anne Inez Jones (14), and Autumn Pauline Boyd (13). Remaining survivors are her sister, Sandra Eloise Emery and husband Robert Lynn Morrison; their son, Blake Emery Morrison and wife Linda Kathleen Sullivan, their children Chase Emery and Ainsley Kathleen; her brother Richard Morris Emery and Phylis Ann Thiele, their children Erica Elyse and Austin Cameron; her first cousin John Will Odam and wife Peggy Jo Kurtz, their daughter Jennifer Paige Odam and husband Charles Crippen Barnett IV; their son Matthew Kurtz Odam and wife Elizabeth Lewis Manieri.
A private service for Gay Lynn will be held July 26, 2021, at the Elmwood Memorial Park in Abilene, Texas. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Gay Lynn’s memory to the Wimberley Senior Citizens and/or the Alzheimer’s Association.
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