GATES, Virginia Guy Yonce (Gee Gee), 87, passed away on August 21, 2015, three days after she and her beloved husband, Ernest Pleasants Gates, celebrated their sixty-fourth wedding anniversary. The youngest of four children born to Katherine Josephine Guy and Gordon Victor Yonce; Gee Gee was preceded in death by her brothers, Gordon Victor Yonce, Jr. and William Ivan Yonce. In addition to her husband, survivors include her cherished sister, Elizabeth Sidney Guy Yonce Hunter, 95, of Eagle Rock; six children and their spouses; fifteen grandsons; one granddaughter; three great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Gee Gee was the granddaughter of Colonel William Scott Guy, CSA and Ivan Vernon Yonce married to Virginia Ellen Moorehead. Her immediate family includes: William “Bill” Mayo Gates (Kathy) and their children, Brian Carroll, Grant Carroll, Daniel Gustin Gates (Juna), William Thomas Gates; Ernest “Rusty” Pleasants Gates, Jr. (Avis) and their sons, Benjamin Heath Gates (Lindsey), their children, Benjamin Heath Gates, II and Olivia Belle Gates, and Charles Harvey Gates (Jennifer); David Heath Gates (Mary Kay) and their three boys, David Heath Gates, Jr. (Beatrice) and their daughter, Virginia Catherine Gates; Patrick Mayo Gates and Matthew Flynn-Mahon Gates; Elizabeth “Betsy” Williams Gates Moore (Bill) and their three children, John Thomas Moore, William Spurr Moore, Jr. and Virginia Elizabeth “Liza” Gates Moore; Virginia “Gini” Moorehead Gates DiStanislao (Phil) and their two sons, Phillip Thomas DiStanislao, III (Elizabeth)and William Andrew DiStanislao; Thomas Bass Gates (Kathy) and their two sons, Joshua “Josh” Varner Gates and Thomas “TJ” Bass Gates, Jr.
After graduating from Greenville High School in South Carolina, Gee Gee returned to her beloved Ol’ Virginny to attend Farmville State Teachers College, now Longwood University. After graduating in 1948, she taught biology at Martinsville High School and began dating her old friend from Hampden-Sydney College, Ernest “Mush” Gates, a student at the School of Law at Washington and Lee University. They married on August 18, 1951.
Gee Gee’s life was devoted to her family and many friends. Although her career in education ended with the birth of her first son, she never stopped teaching, sharing her love and faith in God, music, nature, and life with her children. If her family was happy, Gee Gee was too.
Gee Gee and Ernest raised their children at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chester, where she served on the altar guild and sang in the choir. She made her Cursillo (No. 98) in the Diocese of Southern Virginia. As a member of the Chester Garden Club, she enjoyed her many bridge clubs, vacationing at Wrightsville Beach and Figure Eight Island, NC and traveling the Intracoastal Waterway with Ernest and friends on their sailboat, Bright Hope. She spent her later years on Woodland Pond, happily watching the seasons unfold and tending to an expanding family of grandchildren.
Gee Gee spent her last years at The Hermitage at Cedarfield. The family is grateful to the health care staff there and to her many caregivers, especially Deborah Greene and Joyce Richardson. The family also thanks Dr. Bernard Wittkamp, Dr. Jiho Han, and Dr. Jennifer Ferguson.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 29th, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 12201 Richmond Street, Chester, Va. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to St. John’s Episcopal Church. The family is being served by the Chester Chapel of J. T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home and Cremation Service. Condolences may be registered at www.jtmorriss.com.