Gertrude Thomas Raper, 99, passed away Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at home in Blairsville, Ga., surrounded by the family she loved unconditionally and who returned that love and devotion.
Gertrude was born June 22, 1918, in the Dooley community of Union County, Ga.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John B. and Mary Jane Rogers Thomas; her husband, Arthur William Raper; two sons, Hubert and Marvin Raper; her great-granddaughter, Alexandra Blackwell; her sisters, Adele Potts, Oply Botts and Juanita Nichols; her brothers, Guy and Theodore Thomas; her daughter-in-law, Martha Hensley Raper; her son-in-law, Eugene Fair; her granddaughter-in-law, Lisa Timpson Fair; and her great-grandson-in-law, Andrew Ethridge.
She is survived by her son, Hoyt Raper; her daughters, LaVaughn Fair and Verniece “Tootsie” (Joe) Kilpatrick; her daughters-in-law, Dorothy Oliver Raper and Terry Gibson Raper; her grandchildren, Terry (Jill) Fair, Lisa F. Sledge, Jennifer F. (Maynard) Cain, Julie Raper, Michael (Stacy) Raper, Kim K. (Richard) Blackwell, Erin K. (Marcel) Barre, Tara R. (Derek) Sena, Chris (Tonya) Raper and Nathan Raper; great-grandchildren, Kristin F. Ethridge; Rachel and Ashley Fair; Misty Creason; Nicole and Joshua Kidd; Meagan Cain; Kaley, Michael W. and Zachary Raper; Grayson Blackwell; Katherine, Benjamin, Madeleine and William Barre; Maci and Erica Sena; and George Raper; great-great-grandsons, Kyle and Matt Kerchofer; her sister-in-law, Gladys Thomas; and many special nieces and nephews.
Gertrude had a sharp wit, great sense of humor, strong work ethic and a warm personality that endeared her to all. Her great legacy will be her love for family. As a true Southern matriarch, she was fiercely proud and protective, always keeping them close and being present for them. Her happiest moments were spent with a house full of children and grandchildren, and it always included huge meals she prepared from her garden. She also loved being with friends and neighbors.
Her primary job was raising five children, which she did with great skill. Along with that she worked as a “Rosie” the riveter for Bell Bomber during World War II; a merchant, baker and seamstress. She was known for her beautiful handmade quilts, which she sold to supplement her income.
Gardening, canning, travel and reading were her favorite pastimes. Widowed at age 51, she was able to travel with her adult children coast to coast and overseas but was always happy to return to her beloved mountains. Each time she embarked on a trip, she would say, “Off on another adventure!”
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 10, from Mountain View Chapel in Blairsville with the Rev. Tony Black officiating. Special music will be presented by Kaley Raper. Pallbearers were grandsons, Terry Fair, Michael Raper, Nathan Raper, Chris Raper, Michael W. Raper, Benjamin Barre, Zachary Raper and William Barre.
Interment will follow in Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery.
The family will meet with friends from noon-2 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home prior to the services.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Bethany Cemetery Trust, c/o Glenda Herndon, P.O. Box 1261, Blue Ridge, GA 30513.
Mountain View Funeral Home of Blairsville is in charge of arrangements.
You may sign the family guest book and send condolences online at www.mountainviewfuneralhome.com.