Former mayor Gwen Weaver dies at age 79
She could be funny, feisty, opinionated and even cantankerous. She had known great grief in losing a daughter and staggering responsibility in helping raise a grandson and nurse a husband in poor health. When she came to Hayesville Town Council meetings, she was generally early, always informed and carried the impression that she had a lot going on inside her head.
Gwendolyn Cagle Weaver, 79, Hayesville’s mayor 15 years ago and a member of the current town council, died Friday, March 18 in a hospital in Gainesville, Ga. She was undergoing treatment following a heart attack, the same illness that had killed her father, a friend said.
A native of Hall County, she made Clay County her home for nearly 60 years. She had retired after 34 years with the Clay County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Services office.
She served Hayesville as mayor from 1997 to 2001 and was an outspoken member of the Hayesville Town Council. Weaver was not the town’s first woman mayor. Christine Prater had that honor, serving 1955-57.
During Weaver’s tenure as mayor the town offices moved from Tom Day Mall to the Carolina Bank building on the square across from the iconic Clay County courthouse now undergoing renovation.
Friends say she loved to play cards and golfed when she was able. She was a member of the Hayesville First First United Methodist Church and previously sang in the sanctuary choir.
She also loved to shop and she and best friend, Virginia Phillips, her hairdresser for many years, used to go shopping together in Atlanta, Phillips recalled.
“We closed the Atlanta stores,” Phillips reflected with warmth in her voice. “We had been best friends for more than 60 years, before she and Don were married. I started doing her hair even then.”
Never shy about expressing an opinion, Weaver would tell her good friend, “Take that off!” if she didn’t like a potential clothing purchase.
“We had Rook parties and we used to western square dance together,” Phillips remembered. “Our son and her daughter graduated together.”
Current Hayesville Mayor Harry Baughn recalled Weaver as a very valuable member of the town council and the community.
The fact that Hayesville citizens elected her mayor and elected her again to the Hayesville Town Council reflected the respect many felt for her, Baughn said.
“She definitely was a person that you knew where she stood,” Baughn continued. “She spoke her mind and she had the courage of her convictions.”
The two remaining council members, Sarah Buckley and Josh Ashe, will appoint someone to fill Weaver’s unexpired term until the next election, Baughn said.
Among survivors are her husband of 59 years, Donald S. Weaver, himself a former mayor of Hayesville who served from 1962 to l966; a daughter, Susan Rexroad and husband Kevin of Hayesville; a sister, Doris Ann Cagle Balock of Cleveland, Ga; and two grandchildren, Orren Weaver and Connor Rexroad.
The Weavers’ oldest daughter, Judith, was killed in a car accident while the Weavers were abroad on a mission trip.
A memorial service is planned at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 3 at Hayesville First United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends in the church gathering place following the memorial service.