Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Gail Vinson reunited with her parents in Heaven on the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 10, while her three children held her hand, prayed, and told her how much they loved her and how grateful they were to have her as their Momma.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Effie Marie Nunnelley Vinson; father, Eddie “Doc” Borders Vinson; niece, Lindsey Vinson Cardone; and nephew, Robert Cole Cardone.
She is survived by her daughter, Libby Marie Nathews Pratt, and two grandchildren, Ellie Caroline Pratt and Huston Matthew Pratt; daughter, Emily Dean Nathews Lynch, son-in-law, Clayton Lynch, and two grandchildren, William Doc Boyd Lynch and James Joseph Banks Lynch; son Samuel William Huston Nathews; sister, Anne, and nephew, Virgil Clinton Lugar III.
Gail and her identical twin sister were born in Birmingham, on their mother’s birthday—May 4, 1953. Gail grew up in Homewood, and attended Shades Valley High School, where she set the state swimming record for the butterfly stroke. She earned a BA in home economics from the University of Montevallo and a Master’s of Education from Auburn University.
She met her first husband, Bill Nathews, at the University of Montevallo. She and Bill dated through college and married on Sept. 18, 1976. Starting in 1978, Gail taught kindergarten at Montevallo Elementary until their second child was born in March 1981. Gail and Bill raised three children before divorcing in 1997.
Gail built a successful housekeeping and interior design business servicing Montevallo and surrounding areas before marrying Kenneth Gallups in 1999. She continued that work until she and Kenneth divorced in 2006.
She’d dreamt her whole life of living at the beach, so that same year, she moved to Seagrove Beach, Florida to support her dream, she worked a number of jobs, cleaning houses in Seaside for Cottage Rental Agency, cashiering at Publix in Watercolor, substitute teaching at Walton County high schools and, once again, building her own housekeeping and interior design business from scratch — often all in the same day.
In just a few years after moving to Seagrove, having not known a soul in town, she grew her business into a success and transitioned to working for herself full-time, eventually becoming an icon of Seagrove Beach, according to some residents of the community.
She was an identical twin, but there certainly were no two Gail Vinsons. With a big heart, bright smile, electric laugh, lightning-quick wit, and not a shy bone in her body, Gail had many strong friendships, left a lasting impression on everyone she met, and often made lifelong friends in minute-long conversations.
She was smart. A major bibliophile with a photographic memory, Gail often read multiple books at once and finished them in the same day. She could tell you everything about what she’d read, and if she liked it, she’d send her kids and friends copies of it from Amazon.
She loved her children, grandbabies, granddogs and Jesus with her entire being. She liked hot pink lipstick, turquoise eye shadow, top-shelf margaritas, Sweet Potato Queens, Steel Magnolias, black-and-white movies, Boucheron perfume, mermaids, giving gifts, getting even, glitter, making things look pretty, dirty jokes, funny cards, big sunglasses, letting you know exactly what she thought, spending money, staying up late and being silly with the ones she loved.
Her children are sure that when they reunite with their momma in heaven, it will be on the one stretch of the golden streets that have been painted hot pink and sprinkled with glitter. Until then, they’ll find comfort and warmth in the sweet memories she left them.
In lieu of flowers, Gail’s children request donations be made in their mother’s name to Covenant Rescue Group, a nonprofit Gail supported to help rescue women, children and the vulnerable from human trafficking — please donate at Covenantrescue.org.
Information about Gail’s memorial service is forthcoming and will be made available at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/gailvinson.