By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
It’s the end of an era in Barbourville.
Longtime resident and city council member Gerald L. Hyde, 72, passed away Friday at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center in Lexington.
Memorial services were held Monday — but Hyde’s family was not interested in the traditional funeral.
“We had a celebration of life,” said Hyde’s son, Gerry Hyde, of Richmond. “We wanted it (to be) as happy as you can make it.”
And what a life lived.
A native of Praco, Ala., Hyde made his home in the city for decades — and according to his son, “he left this place just a little better than he found it…”
He was formerly a member of the Kentucky National Guard and served in the Barbourville unit.
He was an active member of the Masonic Lodge #187 F&AM.
He was an active Shriner.
He was an active member of the First Christian Church of Barbourville.
He was a former longtime member of the Barbourville City School Board.
He was a member and volunteer with the Barbourville Fire Department.
He was a branch manager and vice president of the former Union National Bank on Main Street — and retired after 38 years of service to the financial institution.
He was also a board member of the Indian Springs Country Club — and drove more than a few golf balls across the course — and was a member of the Traveling Golfers.
During Monday’s celebration of life, Hyde’s son explained they had six of his father’s closest friends stand and speak about the life of, and their experience with, the late Gerald Hyde.
“We wanted them to tell stories about him,” Gerry Hyde said.
And the common theme, according to his son, was his father’s sense of humor.
“He had a gift of telling a joke,” his son said. “Dad could take the worst joke and make it funny because of his impeccable timing with it.”
He added that one of the celebration’s speakers said that on the golf course, Gerald Hyde would tell a joke on the drive, and then another on the green. By the time 18 holes of golf were complete, Gerald Hyde would’ve told you 36 jokes.
“He just had that dry sense of humor,” Gerry Hyde said, adding he would miss his father.
“I lost my best friend,” he said. “I could tell him anything — we could do anything.”
Gerry Hyde said that his father “was great all around — a great inspiration.”
The two would go hunting together, as well as fishing.
Gerry Hyde and his sister, Sharon “Cher” Hyde, were the products of a love that bloomed in high school, according to Gerry Hyde.
“(My parents) were in the same class in Barbourville High School,” Gerry Hyde said. “They were high school sweethearts.”
The late Gerald Hyde and his wife, Janet Hawn Hyde, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Feb. 10 this year — the two wed in 1963.
Gerry Hyde said Monday’s celebration of life was well done.
“It really was a good send-off,” he said.
Mayor David Thompson agreed, saying he was “very impressed with the service for the council member.”
Gerald Hyde was a council member for many years — in fact, according to Thompson, Hyde became a council member when Thompson’s father was mayor.
Of course, the mayor knew Hyde for many years, as his father and Gerald Hyde worked together at the bank.
“I remember as a little boy playing behind the tellers’ cages in the bank,” Thompson recalled.
He said he will remember Gerald Hyde smiling.
“He was always smiling,” Thompson said. “I was never at a meeting where Gerald wasn’t smiling.”
Hopper Funeral Home in Barbourville handled arrangements, and Hyde was buried in Barbourville Cemetery.
He was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Doris Hawn, and one sister, Jackie Hyde Parks.
He is survived by one son, Gerry Hyde, and one daughter, Sharon “Cher” Hyde. He was also grandfather to two grandsons, Alexander Jason Smith, 9, and Trevor Scott Smith, 4, and to two granddaughters, Katherine Marie Hyde, 12, and Genna Claire Hyde, 5. Two sisters also survive him — Janice Barnes and Sally Hughes — as well as one brother, Eddie Hyde. A host of relatives and dear friends also survive him.
The family requests contributions may be made in Gerald Hyde’s honor to the First Christian Church of Barbourville.
By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
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