LEXINGTON, Ky. - Georgia Wills Baesler passed away in Roswell, Georgia on August 17th, 2013, following a long illness. She was 93.
Georgia Baesler was born in Wilmington, NC on March 23, 1920 to Richard Wills (of Bourbon County, KY) and Katherine Hodges Wills, of Burgaw, NC. At the age of two Georgia’s mother passed away suddenly; subsequently her father returned to the Lexington area and remarried, and she grew up in various locations in the Bluegrass region and Cincinnati. Her childhood was difficult and she ultimately found the parental love she sought with her foster parents, Preston “Press” White and Emma (House) White, of Lexington.
After graduating from Woodward High School in Cincinnati in 1937, Georgia enrolled at the University of Kentucky, where she majored in Office Administration, minored in French and was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. In 1941 her foster father introduced her to her future husband, Joseph Pershing Baesler, of Fayette County, and they were married on October 23rd, 1942. During WWII, while her husband was serving as a US Marine in the Pacific, she worked for the Lexington Army Signal Depot in Avon, KY. Following the war she lived in Lexington until 1956, when her husband’s duties as a US Postal Inspector took them to Raleigh, NC, with additional relocations to Jacksonville, FL, Gainesville, FL and Orlando. In 1971 his promotion took them Chattanooga, TN where they eventually retired. Due to advancing age, she moved to Atlanta, GA in 2003 to be closer to her son and his family.
She was an involved member of her community wherever she lived; in 1946 she began providing clothing and other relief supplies as part of an effort publicized in The Ladies Home Journal, helping European families recover from the ravages of WWII. Through this program she developed a friendship with a young French widow, Mme Armande Gardebled of Rosny-sous-Bois, a suburb of Paris, and established a warm correspondence. That correspondence was sustained following Mme. Gardebled’s death by her son Andre Dubreuil, and only concluded in 2007 with his own passing. In 1951 Georgia helped host a group of German college students attending a nine-month teaching program at the University of Kentucky; similarly, she developed friendships which, maintained through regular correspondence, only ended with her declining health and inability to write. Other activities included membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, Beta Sigma Phi, the Madonna Garden Club, Cub Scout Pack 208 (FL) den mother, a first aid volunteer at Hiawassee Elementary School (FL), a volunteer at Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, and a regular donor to the Hamilton County (TN) Public Library.
Georgia Baesler had varied interests. She loved music and owned a significant collection of classical records. At the age of 65 she taught herself to play piano. She was an avid reader, enjoyed painting and collected miniature turtles.
She was a member of the United Methodist Church and a life-long member of the Democratic Party. Georgia gave generously to many organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, The US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots, The Best Friends Animal Society, The Sierra Club, The St. Joseph’s Indian School, and The World Wildlife Fund. She was a loving wife, a wonderful mother and a doting grandmother.
Georgia Baesler is survived by her devoted sister, Katherine Wills Albanese of Auburn, NY, three sister-in-law, Florence Scott Baesler, Jean Holloway Baesler and Edna Allison Baesler, a son, Kevin Baesler of Atlanta, GA, daughter-in-law Stacy Loftin of Atlanta, and two grandchildren, Rachel Baesler of New York, NY and US Army Specialist 4th Class Lucas Baesler of Tacoma, WA. She was preceded in death by her husband, three sisters, Helen Wills McCullough, Ruth Smith Casteen, Edna Myrl Smith, and four children, all of whom passed away in childbirth, or as infants.
Graveside services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday at the Lexington Cemetery. Kerr Brothers Funeral Home – Main Street is in charge of the arrangements.
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