Sylvia Gail Pope Walker, native of Piedmont, Alabama, went to be with the Lord on May 22, 2021 at the age of 77.. Gail was born on May 24, 1943, the second child of J. Fred Pope and Norma Lorraine Roberts Pope of Piedmont, Alabama, where she and her Sister Janet grew up, and where she graduated as valedictorian of her class at Piedmont High School. Throughout her life she embraced her family’s values of education and protection of the young, cherishing the example of her own parents and of her mentors in her educational pathway. She earned a bachelor’s degree in primary education at Jacksonville State University, and a Ph.D. in educational psychiatry and metrics, teaching along the way in the Piedmont school system, the University of Alabama, and Oklahoma State University. In the 1980s and 1990s she was a pioneer in Florida’s emerging homeschooling community, working with her husband Larry in the early years of organizing the Florida Parent Educators Association, and in promoting the legislation that established homeschooling as a legal option for parents in Florida. She helped many other moms by providing advice and a sympathetic ear. She considered the raising of her three sons as the greatest accomplishment and privilege of her life, and throughout her life was a ferociously loving mother and grandmother, as well as a devoted caretaker to her beloved parents in their old age. Gail loved music and had a beautiful singing voice. She loved reading, and for many years her busy crochet hooks were always turning to make beautiful blankets for her loved ones and the new babies in her church. She was a lifelong spiritual seeker and a devoted follower of Christ, and worked throughout her life in study and devotion to deepen her walk with the Lord. While she always went by “Gail,” she loved her first name of Sylvia (“girl of the forest”) and felt at peace in the beauty of the outdoors in her native hills of Alabama, as well as in the wide-open, starlit night skies of the Oklahoma plains. Gail was a sharp, capable woman who was always prepared for any calamity, and she never stopped thinking about how best to help her loved ones prepare for any challenge on the horizon, whether that was an impending Gulf Coast hurricane, or even the “Y2K bug.” She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Larry Nolan Walker, her sons Jim Wallace Howard, John Pope Walker, and Will Pope Walker, her three grandchildren Destiny, Angela Gail, and Kathryn, and her great-grandson Wally. We miss her. Gail passed away at her home in Pensacola FL, on May 22, 2021, from complications of heart failure. She will be laid to rest at a graveside service, alongside her beloved parents and sister, at Piedmont Memory Gardens on September 25 at 2 pm. Rev. Garry Brown will officiate. Dansby Heritage Chapel is honored to serve with the Walker Family.
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