Lelia Jeanette Tracy Pickren Gibson, of Folkston, age 96, left this earthly life on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. She was born on October 8, 1921, to Minnie Haddock and Porte Crayon Tracy, in Boulogne, Florida, in the Tracy ancestral home called “Brooklyn." The home was built by her great-grandfather, Erasmus D. Tracy and located on the banks of the St. Mary’s River, across from Traders Hill, Georgia. Her childhood was spent playing along the river bank with her three sisters, doing chores at home, such as soap making, and learning the art of cooking and sewing. Her father taught the girls a new word every day at the dinner table.
Lelia came of age in the 1930s during the Great Depression, learning well the lessons of frugality and conservation. During a recent conversation, she reminisced about the old days and longingly remarked that “Life was so simple back then. We always had something coming up. It didn't take much to make people happy.”
Lelia married Verne Johnson Pickren in 1941, and by 1952 completed her family of 4 children and designed a new home which was built on Kingsland Drive. A longtime member of Folkston United Methodist Church, Lelia was accomplished in many areas, and she was known in the Folkston community for her delicious cakes, her hand-tailored clothing, and her paintings. Her one regret in life was that she wasn’t able to go to art school, but she wouldn’t have traded her marriage and family for anything. She was a devoted mother and grandmother.
Lelia was preceded in death by her parents, Porte and Minnie Tracy; her husbands, Verne Johnson Pickren, Sr. and Benjamin Simon Gibson; her sisters, Agnes Tracy Davis and Ada Tracy Norris; and stepchildren Marian Pickren Bell and S. L. Pickren.
She is survived by her sister, Meta Tracy Cushing, age 100, of Jacksonville, Florida. Sons: Verne J. Pickren, Jr. and wife, Cathy, of Folkston and Fernandina Beach, Florida, and Porter Tracy Pickren and wife, Pamela, of Lee, Florida. Daughters: Marcia Pickren Fraser and husband, John, of Franklin, Tennessee, and Lisa Pickren Larson and husband, David Larson, of Atlanta, Georgia. Stepdaughters: Jean Pickren Harrison of St. Mary’s Georgia; Cathy Gibson McKenzie of Swainsboro, Georgia; and Sue Gibson Moncrief of Auburn, Alabama; Stepson: David Gibson of Los Angeles, CA. Grandchildren: Verne J. Pickren III (Tracy), of Sylvania, Georgia; Mark D. Pickren and wife Audrey of Folkston; Susannah D. Fraser and husband Scott Stecklein of Denver, Colorado; John Rory Fraser and wife Carolyn of Ithaca, New York; Ross Lovat Fraser of Franklin, Tennessee; Katherine Tracy (Kate) Larson of Austin, Texas; and James David (Jim) Larson of Denver, Colorado. Great grandchildren: Gage Pickren, Jamie Pickren, Colton Pickren, Jolie Kate Pickren, Ben Pickren, Oscar Stecklein, and Leo Stecklein, and numerous step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Special gratitude to her wonderful team of caregivers: Sharon Mitchell, Tosha Carter, Eleanor Jones; Linda Johns, Penny Sikes, and Kara Prescott who cared for, blessed and loved Lelia. Grateful thanks to Glenda Gowen for her weekly visits and personal hair care. The family extends heartfelt appreciation to Mark Pickren for his selfless, devoted and loving care to his grandmother during these past years.
Memorial Donations may be made to Folkston UMC Kitchen Ministry, PO Box 396, Folkston, Georgia 31537.
The family will receive friends Thursday, October 19 at Shepard-Roberson Funeral Home from 6-8 PM.
Graveside funeral services will be held Friday, October 20 at 11:00 AM in Pineview Cemetery.
Condolences may be expressed by signing the guest registry at www.shepardfh.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of Shepard-Roberson Funeral Home in Folkston, Georgia.
To send flowers to the family in memory of LELIA PICKREN GIBSON, please visit our flower store