Retired Floyd County extension home economist, also called demonstration agent, Margaret Gayler, 91, has died following an extended illness.

Gayler served in the local University of Georgia Extension office for 30 years before her retirement in 1986. She was the wife of retired Rome City Clerk Branson Gayler. They would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on July 24.

The Floyd County Homemakers Council renamed the annual Christmas in November Bazaar the Margaret Gayler Christmas in November Bazaar just last year.

She brought the idea for the homemakers craft show back to Rome from a work-related trip to New Orleans more than six decades ago.

Deanne Hoffman, president of the Floyd County Homemakers Council, said Gayler was always the organization’s go-to person.

“She was our inspiration, the person we could always depend on, the one we could have fun with, you name it,” Hoffman said.

Barbara Carter, who succeeded Gayler at the Extension Service, said “she touched millions, I mean that — millions of lives across the state of Georgia. Everyone knew Margaret Gayler.”

Carter said Gayler welcomed her to the office in 1972 and was such an inspiration prior to her retirement.

“She could pull any event together,” Carter said. “She would share her knowledge and programs with everyone. We will never be able to replace her.”

Gayler helped publish the first of eight editions of the homemaker council cookbook “Floyd’s Finest Foods” in 1960.

Gayler published her own cookbook, “Margaret’s Memos and Recipes,” in 1993. In 2008, she wrote “Family and Friends Favorite Recipes,” which included 179 recipes as well as helpful cooking tips for each category of dishes.

She frequently served as a judge for the Rome News-Tribune Bake-Off competitions. She also wrote cooking and homemaking columns, “Margaret’s Memos” for the Rome News-Tribune for nearly two decades.

Gayler was honored with other retirees in 2014, the centennial year for the Georgia Extension Service.

Hoffman said Gayler was her eighth grade math teacher at Armuchee years ago. She also served as a home economics teacher at Model for a number of years.

Funeral services are scheduled for Sunday at Henderson & Sons North Chapel in Armuchee. Visitation will be 1-3 p.m. followed by the service at 3.

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