Gay was born Nov. 16, 1936, in Birmingham, Ala., and lived much of her childhood in Atlanta. She graduated from high school in Louisville, Ky., and attended Birmingham Southern College and the University of Connecticut. She met her husband Jim Griffith at UConn, and they were married in 1957.
Gay earned a bachelors degree from Georgia State University and a master’s degree from Valdosta State University. She had a rich career teaching in public schools in Valdosta and Fulton County.
Gay and Jim became permanent residents of Sanibel in 1999. Gay always loved the water and was on her college synchronized swimming team and later taught swimming and lifesaving for the American Red Cross. She enjoyed water aerobics three times each week at the Sanibel Recreation Center.
Gay and Jim also enjoyed the tranquility of their lake house in the North Georgia mountains in Rabun County. There, Gay enjoyed gardening, hiking, canoeing and kayaking.
The most important priority throughout Gay’s life was her family. She was the loving mother of five children: sons, Michael Griffith of Spring, Texas, Brian Griffith of San Diego and B. Howard Griffith (deceased); daughters, Linda Griffith of Cambridge, Mass., and Susan Griffith Bradbury Berthelot of Atlanta. She was also very proud of her nine grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. She also is survived by her brother, Gordon Smith of Ormond Beach, Fla.
On Sanibel, Gay was a volunteer at Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, the International Osprey Foundation and Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society, the Bayou Preservation Association and Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
Gay’s family is planning a private memorial service. In lieu of flowers or gifts, Gay would have appreciated a donation in her memory to any of the organizations listed above, where she volunteered.
The Clayton Tribune, Dec. 27, 2012