Geraldine D. Heath leaves a legacy of service

Geraldine D. Heath

Geraldine D. Heath, retired managing editor of The Nashville PRIDE newspaper departed this life to go from ‘labor to refreshment’ on Sunday, March 25, 2018.

On March 19, 1944, Geraldine Darby was born in Sylacauga, Alabama to John Hugh and Lorene Darby, who both preceded her in death. It was in Sylacauga that she was also reared and attended public school while growing up in church at St. Thomas United Methodist Church.

She attended East Highland School and was a proud graduate of the East Highland class of 1962 as valedictorian. As high school sweeties, she married Curtis Heath on December 31, 1960. The young couple moved to Nashville, Tennessee in March of 1962, where they raised their family.

Geraldine Heath was managing editor of The Nashville PRIDE newspaper since its inception in 1988. However, she was known throughout the Nashville community for her many other civic activities. In her earlier years, prior to her settling in as the voice of The PRIDE, she was an active member at the NAACP, going from meeting-to-meeting for the ‘good of the people.’ She worked for the Metro Social Services Summer Youth Employment Program (formerly known as C.E.T.A.), and attended Tennessee State University, where she received a Bachelor’s degree and later a Master’s degree in ‘counseling.’ She worked as a substitute teacher for Metro Public Schools and as a professor at Tennessee State University. She also could often be found singing at several churches as a guest soloist, leading activities for an organization or an event in the community—or possibly campaigning or offering up ideas for a plethora of organizations.

In 1988, Geraldine was asked to be the managing editor of The Nashville PRIDE, a new venture organized by two Meharry Medical College professors, Dr. Cynthia Hodge and Dr. Larry Davis. The Nashville PRIDE was developed as the first local African American newspaper to publish news about happenings within Nashville’s Black community. Under Geraldine’s tenure as managing editor, The PRIDE would showcase and emphasize a high percentage of positive, ‘soft news’ concerning local, state and national events. Another of her main focuses was to provide jobs in the new arena of journalism for local writers and support staff. Geraldine successfully carried out her journalistic criteria for over twenty-five years, retiring in 2015.

She was a very active member of Clark Memorial United Methodist Church, where she had been a member for many years. Yet she also took time out to assist in the development of Ernest Newman United Methodist Church as a loan member for approximately ten years before returning to Clark. Back at Clark Memorial United Methodist, Geraldine continued the same tireless diligence she had become known for—carrying out the works of her church and the community up until her final days.

Over the years, Geraldine made a significant and lasting impact on every person and organization that she supported.

Her spirit, her wisdom and her diligence will truly be missed by those she leaves behind, including: her loving and devoted sweetheart and husband, Curtis Heath; three loving children — Yolanda Renee (Danny) Troutman (Ga.), Wanda Nicole Clay, and Curtis Johnero ‘Rock’ Heath; loving and caring sons-in-law — Danny Troutman (Ga.) and Danny Thomas Clay; all the grandkids who dearly loved their caring ‘Nana,’ — Christopher and Darius Troutman, Grant (China) Clay, Dewand (Deidra) Clay, Darby Clay, Shatiqua ‘Missy’ Moore, Anatawan Lacy, Curtis and Kiera, Heath, and Nicolas Price; great grandchildren — Parker and Ivy Troutman; Alonzo Clay, Ras Cowley, Laila Clay and Jordan Clay; many other relatives; her church family; personal friends; community friends; former Ultimate Civic & Social Club members; and her beloved Eastland High School Class of 1962 friends.

A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, March 31, with visitation at 1 pm and a 2 pm funeral service at Clark Memorial UMC, 1014 14th Ave. N. under the leadership Rev. Dr. Herbert Lester, Jr., senior pastor. Services are entrusted to Terrell Broady Funeral Services. For information and the entire obituary, visit the Terrell Broady website.