Obituary and funeral service: Edith Jane Glass, 102, of Loganville

GLASS, Edith Jane (née Messer
November 8, 1918 to November 21, 2020. Beloved wife of the late Rev. Victor T. Glass. Dear mother of W. Reeder Glass and T. Brian Glass (Ann M. Overbeck). Loving grandmother of Mike (Jodi) Glass, Christy (Mike) Lowe, Tracy (Beat) Jans, Alex Glass, and Ansley Glass, and great-grandmother of Jake and Olivia Glass, Lawson, Victor, and Liza Lowe, and Zoe and Mia Jans. 

Edith was a woman of indomitable faith and spirit whose roots trace back to a hero of American Revolutionary times. Edith was born (at home) to Forest Ward Messer and Effie Jane Messer (née Furr) in the mountainous Clyde, NC. “Effie’s little Edie” had four older brothers, Jack, Ernest, Clark, and Guy, and two younger brothers, Ray and Ben. Her father was a traveling dry-goods salesman who was home only on weekends, and her mother and her older brothers tended to the family farm; so Edith at an early age helped run the household, whether it was churning butter, feeding the livestock, or taking care of her younger brothers. But there was a future for Edith beyond the farm. Because her father was a proponent of education for men and women alike and Edith was an excellent student, she was sent to the Dorland-Bell School, a Presbyterian boarding school in Hot Springs, NC. After Dorland-Bell, she attended Carson-Newman College (now University) in Jefferson City, TN from which she was graduated in 1940 with a B.A. in English and French. At Carson-Newman, Edith met the love of her life, Victor Glass, a ministry student from (what is now) Eden, NC. Their relationship started as a partnership—they met as freshmen when they were assigned to be biology lab partners. Edith and Victor wed on September 14, 1940, and their 55-year marriage continued their partnership based on love and a shared mission to serve God and to spread Christianity. 

Through the years, the Glass family moved around as Victor pursued his ministry and Edith her evolving career in early childhood education. In Louisville, KY, Victor received a PhD in Theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Edith had her first teaching experience. Then, in Nashville, TN, Edith was the director of a Presbyterian pre-k school while Victor was a professor at the American Baptist Theological Seminary (now the American Baptist College) and then its Acting President. In addition, Victor worked part-time as an itinerant preacher. Thus, on any given Sunday, the Glass family could be miles from home at, for example, the Baptist church in Milton (or even the Methodist church across the street in Milton) where Victor would conduct the service, Edith would play hymns on the piano from the Broadman Hymnal, and Reeder and Brian would (presumably) sing along with the congregation. 

After at least a decade in Nashville, the family moved to Decatur, GA. Victor was the Secretary for the Cooperative Ministries with National Baptists at the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Edith continued teaching, first, for 5 years at the kindergarten run by Peachtree Baptist Church and then in the Atlanta Public Schools. For APS, she taught at an elementary school on Northside Drive and then at John Hope Elementary School. Throughout her career, Edith received awards for teaching, including in 1983 a Certificate of Appreciation from APS for 22 years of dedicated service. 

Edith was still teaching when Victor found his dream retirement property on the outskirts of Snellville, GA—30 acres of a former farm with a circa-1900 farm house. Although it was 1970, the house had no indoor plumbing. So, as the story goes, Edith refused to leave Decatur until Victor added what he called her “city room,” a master bedroom with closets and an adjoining full bath. Victor complied and they moved to the “farm.” Teaching full-time and commuting to Atlanta did not keep Edith from renovating the old house into a “1970’s modern” home; transforming the bare ground with grass, flowers, fruit trees, and a vegetable garden; putting up the fruits and vegetables from each harvest; knitting, sewing, and quilting; attending exercise classes; and creating memories for the visiting grandchildren. In addition, Edith and Victor joined and became actively involved with Center Hill Baptist Church in Loganville, GA, and, at one point, became founding members of Northminster Baptist Church in Conyers, GA. 

Always independent and self-reliant, Edith stayed on the farm after Victor’s death in 1995 until she decided, around age 81, that she needed a newer home in a subdivision. She marketed the farm by tacking “For Sale” signs to multiple trees fronting the road, and, after the property sold, she moved 3 miles away to her new home, where she continued many of her church, social, and handicraft activities. At age 99, due to physical limitations, Edith moved to assisted living in The Retreat at Loganville. There, with her usual determination and enduring mental acuity, Edith continued her activities as much as possible and made new friends among the other residents and staff members. 

Edith loved and was loved by her family members, countless friends of various ages and walks of life, members of her Sunday school classes, and a succession of dogs and cats, including her dachshund Sam (a rescue) who accompanied her to The Retreat and was with her at her passing. Edith was a serious person and a devout Christian, and many of her beliefs (and sayings) dated from decades ago. Yet, Edith could be playful, had a good (although understated) sense of humor, was open-minded and interested in learning, and liked new endeavors. Edith’s foremost characteristic, however, was her service mentality; she was happy when she was helping someone or accomplishing a task for a purpose. On her own and at Victor’s side, Edith served God through helping others and living a purposeful life. 

The funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, at Center Hill Baptist Church, 6372 GA Hwy 20 SW, Loganville, GA, 30052 (770-466-4335). Interment will follow at the adjacent cemetery. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, In lieu of flowers and if desired, memorials may be made to the Victor T. Glass Education Fund at Center Hill Baptist Church. 

Reposted courtesy of Tim Stewart Funeral Home.

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