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Originally published: 2013-09-23 13:00:15
Last modified: 2013-09-23 13:00:59

G. Barrett Gilmer

Rev. G. Barrett Gilmer passed away on Sept. 21, 2013, at Cannon Memorial Hospital following injuries from an accident.
Barrett Gilmer was born Aug.1, 1932, in Anderson, S.C. His parents were George B. Gilmer and Margaret Fouche Gilmer. After growing up in Anderson, he graduated from King College and Columbia Theological Seminary. He served Presbyterian churches in Rural Retreat and Seven Mile Ford, Virginia, then was chapel minister of First Presbyterian Church in Kingsport, Tenn. In 1964 he and his family moved to Banner Elk, where he became the first resident director of Holston Presbytery Camp.
Gilmer spent most of his ministry developing fledgling programs that would enrich people’s lives. He enjoyed 21 years at Holston Camp, touching hundreds of people and growing the small summer church camp into a year-round conference center. In 1986 he became administrator of newly-formed Yellow Mountain Enterprises for adults with disabilities. During his tenure, the program increased and moved its location from a church basement to its own facility in Newland.
Gilmer was among those who brought Habitat for Humanity to Avery County. From 1986-2001, he was committed to that project. After his career retirement, he served as a full-time volunteer at Avery Habitat for four years as director and builder.
Gilmer was adept at connecting people. His visions were realized through a leadership style that was humble and inclusive. He held the conviction that every human being is to be valued and loved.
Gilmer is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Mary Dudley; four children, Meg Julian of Foscoe; Ellen Stapleton and husband, Peter, of Banner Elk, George Gilmer of Hillsborough, and Kirk Gilmer and wife, Chrissy, of Buffalo, N.Y. Also surviving are a brother, Lyonel Gilmer and wife, MaryJo, of Nashville, Tenn.; a sister, Anna Margaret Shivers of North Augusta, S.C.; two step-sisters, Alice Reynolds of Charlotte and Peggy Reynolds-Hufstettler of Rock Hill, S.C.. There are also11 grandchildren, AJ, Gil and Mary Julian; Sam, Joe and Adam Stapleton; Anna, Rachel, Brendan, Amelia and Alina Gilmer. Special in-laws are, Tony and Claire Fortune, Gaines Steer, Adrian Julian, Susie Gonzales, Charity Dollar, Zacharie Boyle. Great-grandchildren are, Alexa Julian, Liam Stapleton, and Rosie Richards.
A memorial service will be held 2:30 p.m. at the Banner Elk Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013.
In lieu of flowers, gifts honoring Gilmer may be made to Holston Presbytery Camp, Box 428, Banner Elk, NC 28604; Yellow Mountain Enterprises, Box 548 , Newland, NC 28657; or Avery County Habitat for Humanity , Box 1016, Newland, NC 28657.
Words of comfort and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at
Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland is serving the Gilmer family.

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