Pearlye Belle Gilmore was born on October 24, 1939, in Cherokee County, Alabama. When she was a little girl, she picked cotton in those sandy Alabama fields with her sister Faye, her cousins Nellie and Carl Joe, and countless other family members. They didn't have a lot, but they had enough to eat, a warm house, and each other, and that was plenty. ·
When she was a little older, her parents, Claude and Gladys Gilmore moved the family to Georgia. It was there that the pretty Gilmore girls met the handsome VanDyke brothers. Donald and Faye married first and their daughter, Vicki was born in 1958. In June of that same year, Sidney and Pearlye were married. Angie (Childers - married to Tony now) came along a year later. Debra (DeFoor - married to Larry now) was born in 1963 and Ronnie (married to Greta) was born in 1964. Every Summer, the young family would load up the little station wagon and head out to Florida, Washington DC, New Orleans, and many other places. So many sweet memories were made along the way.
When the kids were little, Pearlye worked at Fairbanks glove mill in Rome, sewing the thumbs on gloves. Later, she worked at State Farm Insurance Claims for 30 years alongside her sister Faye before they retired. Everyone the two of them ever worked with loved the VanDyke sisters. While she worked there, one of her unofficial jobs was refereeing from behind her desk when fights broke out back home between the three kids. Nobody ever kept count of how many disagreements there were, but there were more than a few!
After her retirement, (surprisingly, she never did get fired for having those unruly children) she went to work doing what she really loved. She played in the dirt all day! Since Sidney had been in the wholesale florist business for many years, she decided getting him to build her five greenhouses would be an excellent idea. She planted and sold flowers, fruits, and vegetables and probably gave away just about as much as she sold. Anyone who ever visited the greenhouse became her friend and kids never left without a little gift of some kind.
Of all the titles she ever held in her lifetime, "Nana" was probably her favorite. Justin was the first grandchild born in 1983, followed by Seth in 1995. Oh, how she loved those grandsons. She never missed the opportunity to tell anyone who would listen all about them. She'd share how Justin skated competitively and then professionally in Holiday on Ice and how he's teaching other kids to skate now. And she was so proud of Seth when he earned his Master's Degree in nursing. When Seth married sweet Emily this past October, Pearlye's family was so worried she wouldn't be able to attend since she had been so sick, but she showed them all. She had the outfit, the shoes, and the jewelry and she wasn't about to miss his special day. She was there, as pretty as ever!
Pearlye kept planting those flowers right up until the very end. She was in the greenhouse just a few days before her frail, earthly body finally gave up. The night she passed into eternity, she was surrounded by her family who loved her so much, and holding the hand of that cute VanDyke boy she loved and had made a good life with all those years ago. Her family firmly believes she stepped into Heaven and immediately put everyone to work potting flowers for those Heavenly gardens. She'll be missed so very much.
Pearlye's celebration of life will take place at Calhoun First Baptist Church on Friday, March 12th at 2:00 PM. Visitation will be before the service from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM. Masks are requested and will be very much appreciated. Steven Pearson, her former pastor, and John Barber, her current pastor will speak at the service. Her favorite musicians, Angie, Ronnie, and Travis will play the music she loved.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Pearlye Belle (Gilmore) VanDyke, please visit our floral store.