Cover photo for Gail Whitley Hensley's Obituary
Gail Whitley Hensley Profile Photo

Gail Whitley Hensley

December 29, 1950 — February 12, 2024

Webster

Gail Whitley Hensley

Gail Whitley Hensley peacefully joined her Lord at the age of 73. She was born into a family of faith and service on December 29, 1950 to the late Dotson Edward Whitley and the late Edna Staton Whitley of Hendersonville. It was there she met her lifelong soulmate Benjamin Donald Hensley, also of Hendersonville, at Brocks Drive-In on a motorcycle. They later married on December 18, 1971 and resided in Cullowhee to continue their education at WCU.

Gail graduated from WCU in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and received her Master of Arts in Education in 1974. She was the 1st master's level certified exceptional childrens teacher to teach in the western part of the state. She also wrote the 1st curriculum at WCU for the Master of Science program in special education under the mentorship of Dr. Jane Schultz. Gail first traveled a tri-county area promoting learning disability teaching and recognition. Gail taught at Scotts Creek Elementary School and retired after 25 years of service. Gail had a passion for her students. They were always near and dear to her heart.  Gail's second passion was her children's clothing retail store, LIttle People Fashions in Sylva. She enjoyed dressing the children in our area for many years.

Mission Outreach was the dearest to her heart. Gail had a kind, faithfull, giving heart evident to anyone around that knew her. She started Women On Mission, an outreach program at Scotts Creek Baptist Church. Kidney Dialysis Center was her favorite ministry. This ministry provided snacks and gifts to the patients of Sylva. She also was part of a mission outreach group during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 where a group from Scotts Creek Church traveled to Slidell, Louisiana along with a crew of men from Western Builders. Her job was to set up a thrift shop to help those who had been affected by the hurricane.  After her retirement, Gail managed the Best Western River Escape Inn & Suites in Dillsboro, NC. of which she owned with her husband and his business partner and wife.

Gail's most important role in life was to be a dedicated wife and mother. She adored her husband Don of 52 years and cherished her daughters, Stephanie & Emily and embraced every moment with them. She was the matriach of the family and a spiritual role model. She especially loved her role as Nana to her five grandchildren. She had a vivacious personality, big smile, and always made friends everywhere she went.  Her life was a living example of one of her favorite Bible verses, Proverbs 3:6---"In all thy ways achnowledge Him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Gail was preceeded in death by her parents Dotson Edward Whitley and Edna Staton Whitley.  She leaves behind her husband Don of 52 years.  
Children: Stephanie Manka (Jeff) of Webster, Emily Crawford (Aaron) of Arden
Grandchildren: Harrison Manka, Haley Manka, Benjamin Manka, Zachary Shuler, Riley Shuler
Brother: Vick Whitley (Elsie) of Fletcher
Sister: Deborah Whitley Van Weiren (Chris) of Hendersonville
There are three nephews and several special friends.

Funeral Services will be held at 3:30 on Sunday, February 18, 2024 at Scotts Creek Baptist Church with the Reverend Lloyd Fish and Reverend Charles Stevens officiating. Dolphus Brown will also be a part of the service. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 2:00 to 3:30. Burial will follow at Fairview Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers will be Harrison Manka, Benjamin Manka, Zachary Shuler, Riley Shuler, Johnny Phillips, and Jon Karup.



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Past Services

Visitation

Sunday, February 18, 2024

2:00 - 3:30 pm (Eastern time)

SCOTTS CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH

97 Steeple Rd, Sylva, NC 28779

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Funeral Service

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Starts at 3:30 pm (Eastern time)

SCOTTS CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH

97 Steeple Rd, Sylva, NC 28779

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Fairivew Memorial Gardens

Fairview Rd, Sylva, NC 28779

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