Mrs. Elanor Ann Gilmore Spurgeon

Eleanor Ann Gilmore Spurgeon, age 94, passed away on Saturday December 9th 2023 at her home in Statesboro. Ann was born on April 19, 1929 in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Arbutus Thomas Gilmore and Thomas Russell (TR). Her early life followed her family’s path through east Tennessee, as her father, a Professor of Horticulture at UT moved through various agricultural jobs, before eventually settling as a member of the Cumberland Plateau agricultural experiment station near Crossville, Tennessee. She graduated from Rhea County High School in Dayton, Tennessee in 1945. She continued her education at the University of Tennessee, graduating with a degree in Home Economics in 1949. While visiting friends in Johnson City, Tennessee she met the love of her life, Patrick O’Dyer Spurgeon. They planned their life together, as Pat finished college at Emory and Henry College then served in the army. During his service, they were married at The Homestead, near Crossville, Tennessee. As Pat served in Puerto Rico and Korea, their first child, O’Dyer, was born. They soon moved to the Knoxville area, as Pat pursued his Master’s degree and PhD in English from UT. Ann worked both at Emory and Henry and UT, as Pat worked on his academic credentials. As the early years passed, they had a second son, Kevin in 1961 in Knoxville. Ann, as always, by her diligent hard work, as a teacher and homemaker, maintained the foundation for her husband’s and family’s success. For the next six years, the family moved from college to college as Pat advanced in his career. In 1966 the family found its home in Statesboro, Georgia, as Pat became a Professor at Georgia Southern College (Eventually Georgia Southern University). Through the movement and changes, she was the solid rock, keeping her boys, home, and husband together. She maintained her family’s interest in education, working for the Bulloch County Schools as a Speech Therapist for thirty-three years. Her personality mixed a sweet disposition with a wry sense of humor that was not always evident. Her good-natured qualities were leavened by a feisty side, like her mother Boots (Arbutus), that would appear when something needed to be changed or saved. As she would say in her east Tennessee dialect, “There are times, you need to rear up on your hind legs and attack.” At the many athletic contests during her husband’s and son’s coaching and playing careers, her voice was, despite her diminutive size, heard across many fields, she did not shrink from cheering passionately for her teams. Her delights were reading, needlepoint, and playing hostess to the numerous players and students that came to her home over the years. She loved working with the American Association of University Women as a member and as an officer. Her needlepoint crafting circle in her later years was a source of pride and happiness. She was also an active aunt, following the lives and families of the scattered nieces and nephews, Don Gilmore (Teresa), Susan Spaulding (Rusty), Russ Gilmore, (Kerrie), Paul Gilmore (Samantha), and Kathy Gilmore from brother, Tom Gilmore (Shirley). She was preceded in death by her brother, Tom Gilmore, her sister-in law Shirley Gilmore, her parents, Thomas Russell (TR) Gilmore and Arbutus (Boots) Gilmore, her daughter, Anna Kathleen, and her husband of 74 years, Dr. Patrick Spurgeon, Sr. She is survived by her sons, O’Dyer (Mary) and Kevin (Barbara) and grandchildren, Kathleen, Rick (Lubi), Anna, Russell, and Brian. A visitation will be held at Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home in Statesboro on Tuesday, December 12th, from 4:00pm until 7:00pm. The family requests that any memorial contributions be made to the Statesboro – Bulloch County Library, 124 South Main Street, Statesboro, GA 30458. Friends may sign the online register book at www.joineranderson.com Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory of Statesboro is in charge of arrangements.

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