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Gayle Watkins Barnard

Sunday, October 20, 2019
Gayle Watkins Barnard

On Oct. 16, 2019, after a life full of love, family, and friends, our beloved great grandmother, grandmother, mom, and wife, Gayle Watkins Barnard of Smithfield, VA, passed away at the age of 69.

Gayle was born in Pine Buff, AR, on Aug. 23, 1950, to Dorothy and Douglas Watkins. They moved to Ferriday, LA, in Gayle’s early years. She graduated from Ferriday High School and then Louisiana Tech University. While a freshman at Louisiana Tech, she met the love of her life and future husband, Ben. The two were married June 19, 1971. Ben and Gayle (mostly Gayle) raised two sons and a daughter; Jason, the oldest, and twins Adam and Leah Barnard Leitch.

Gayle loved mathematics and spent her working years as a secondary math teacher and tutor. She was also a great mom and Air Force wife accompanying her husband on assignments throughout the United States to include Fort Worth, TX, Blytheville, AR, Omaha, NE, Rome, NY, Washington, DC, Dayton and Oxford, OH, as well as an international assignment to the US Embassy in Mexico City.

Gayle was preceded in death by her parents, Dot and Doug. She is survived by her husband, Ben, of Smithfield, VA; son, Jason and daugher-in-law, Mia; granddaughters Daisy, Pepper, and June of Ashland, OR; son Adam Barnard of Raleigh, NC; grandchildren Adan Barnard of Greenville, NC, and Celeste Barnard of Murfreesboro, TN; and Leah (Barnard) Leitch and son-in-law Steve; grandsons Jackson and Connor of Apex, NC. Additionally, she is survived by one great grandchild, Gianna, of Greenville, NC. She is also survived by three brothers; Alan (Libbey) Watkins of Minden, LA; Mark (Beverly) Watkins of Little Rock, AR; and Jim Watkins of Ruston, LA; and two special aunts, Van Spillar of Irving, TX, and Joan Mead of Bella Vista, AR; along with several cousins, nieces, and nephews.

A memorial service will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, at Kilpatrick Funeral Home officiated by Pastor Dale Oden. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 1 p.m. to the start of the service on Oct. 22. Interment will occur at a later date. Little Funeral Home in Smithfield, VA, and Kilpatrick Funeral Home in Ruston, LA, are assisting the family with arrangements.

Gayle was afflicted with pulmonary hypertension, a rare chronic disease, which contributed to her death. In lieu of flowers, she and her family would greatly appreciate contributions to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association in her memory.

Online condolences may be extended to the family at

Kilpatrick Funeral Homes - Ruston