WATKINSVILLE - Felicite Augusta Bryan Verner, "Miss Gus", 93, died on Friday, March 14, 2014.
Augusta was born on August 5, 1920, in Smithville, GA. She was the daughter of the late Moses William Bryan and Musa Eudora Usry Bryan.
She was a school teacher by profession. She taught school in Rome, Hastings, Fla., and Oconee County Schools in Georgia. Mrs. Verner was instrumental in bringing Head Start to Oconee County. Augusta started (and was the first teacher) in the Special Education Program in Oconee County.
She loved people, especially children. She thrived on their individual achievements and successes. She dealt with many children who were passed over by others. All children were valuable in her eyes and dear to her heart.
Cards were received, often with a hug, by many, many people over the years from Gus.
Mrs. Verner attended St. Petersburg (Fla.) Junior High School and graduated from St. Petersburg SR. High School. She was one of few girls in the Pilots Club. She was in the Civil Air Patrol and was prepared to watch the Florida coast during wartime. She also was in the fencing club and competed in an outfit she made! Her great grandchildren were excited by her "sword" (as were her children in earlier days).
Augusta graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelors Degree in Education. She worked toward her Masters. While at University of Georgia, she rode in a trunk of a car to Atlanta to "storm the capitol" as the students wanted to ensure that the University of Georgia would remain on the accredited list of schools. She told of sneaking a watermelon in to Creswell Hall in the night.
She met "the love of her life", Edwin Lee Verner, in a mud puddle on a possum hunt. On March 7, 1943, Edwin became her husband at the United States Navy Chapel in Norfolk, Va. as Edwin's leave had been cancelled.
Mrs. Verner was a foster parent and made a difference in the lives of those children. She loved to walk for miles on end until she lost a leg due to cancer in her eighties. She was delighted to be wheeled about town by friends in her chair. She never tired of these outings. She also mentored children after her retirement as long as her health permitted.
Augusta had great faith and a deep love of God. She always pointed up when one shared troubles with her.
She was inducted in to the Oconee County Education Hall of Fame. Mrs. Verner was the recipient of the Retired Educator of the Year for 1999-2000 for Clarke-Oconee. She was given a citation for distinguished service by the Georgia Federation Council for Exceptional Children for her "High Calibre Professional Contribution to Exceptional Children and Youth". Mrs. Verner was selected as an "Outstanding Elementary Teacher of America " for 1972. She had been a faithful and contributing member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
She was a member of the Watkinsville United Methodist Church in Watkinsville, and also attended the Hoschton United Methodist Church in Hoschton.
Mrs. Verner was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; a son, Edwin Bryan Verner; brother, William Franklin Bryan; sister, Charity Joshlyn Link; and great-grandchildren, Elizabeth Huff, and triplets, Julia, Scott, and Jeremiah Murray.
Survivors include a daughter-in-law, Nancy Byrd Verner; son, Lemuel Henry Verner, Watkinsville; and daughters, Ellen Irmeth Thurmond (Mack, Canton, Mich., and Becky Baxter (Frank), Watkinsville; and grandchildren, Christy Verner, Rebecca Holcomb, Wendy McHale, Lee Verner, Misha Turner, Jeff and Brett Thurmond, Scott, Matt, Russ, and Reid Murray and Tessa Turk-Baxter; two sisters, Susie Ruth Hilliard, Florida, and Ada Pryor Speranza, Connecticut; and three sisters-in-law, Daisy Verner MacLean, Braselton, Sara Breedlove Verner, Rutledge, and Ann Stephens, Florida; and many beloved nieces and nephews. She left 23 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Her family wishes to thank her friends and family for love given and kindnesses shared over her lifetime. Know that you were loved by Gus.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, March 18, at Lord and Stephens West on Jimmie Daniel Rd. in Bogart, from 5 to 7 p.m. A memorial service will be held at the Watkinsville First United Methodist Church on New High Shoals Rd. in Watkinsville , on Wednesday, March 19, at 11 am.
Flowers are optional. Memorials may be sent to the Foster Care Association of Oconee Co , Inc./Gus Verner Scholarship Fund at Oconee State Bank, PO Box 205, Watkinsville, GA 30677, or ESP (Extra Special People) at PO Box 615, Watkinsville, GA 30677.
Lord & Stephens West is in charge of arrangements.