She was born October 29, 1932 in Shelbyville, the oldest daughter of Thomas Avery and Dillie Louise McKinney Gipson, who preceded her in death. She attended the Bedford County School System, Tennessee State University and George Peabody College for Teachers (Vanderbilt University). She dedicated 38 years to the children of Nashville as a teacher, reading specialist and the first Black consultant teacher to serve both black and white schools in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School System.
Gladys was a member of Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church for 57 years. She was personally committed to service ministry to the young and old.
She enjoyed membership in several noted social and civic organizations, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, the Bridgedettes, the Tyros Bridge Club and the Optimist Club of Central Nashville.
She is survived by her soulmate and husband of 61 years, Samuel J.V. Abernathy; three children: son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Renita Abernathy of Stone Mountain, GA; daughters and sons-in-law, Eloise and Autry Alexis of Atlanta, GA and Darlene and Jesse Neely of Nashville; six grandchildren: Chekeetha, Marquis, Terea, Jesse III, Kristen Joy and Seth; sister and brother-in-law, Marilyn Gipson and Lendell Massengale, Sr. of Shelbyville; and a wonderful circle of nieces, nephews, cousins, loved ones, treasured friends, former students and sorors.
Services are Friday, May 25, 2012 at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, 2334 Herman Street, Nashville, Reverend Vance P. Ross, Officiant. Viewing begins at 10 a.m., with family visitation from with 10:30 -- 11:30 a.m. The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Ceremony is at 11:40 a.m. and the Funeral at noon. Interment immediately following the services at Mount Ararat Annex, 321 Dover Street, Shelbyville.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church for the Gladys Inell Gipson Abernathy Community Outreach and Building Fund are kindly requested.
The family entrusted their loved one to Davis-Campbell-McClain Funeral Directors, Nashville, TN, 615-329-9700.