Obituary of Gail Franklin Elrod
Gail Franklin Elrod, of Telford, PA, died on November 5, 2020, at the age of 82 from pancreatic cancer. For the last month, she had been cared for at her son’s home with the help of Grand View Hospice and died comfortably there. She was the beloved wife of the late Thomas (Wade) Elrod who died in 2001 and with whom she shared 42 years of marriage.
Born in Greenville, SC on August 19, 1938, and raised in Anderson, SC, she was the only daughter of the late Myrtle Lee (Beiers) and Curtis L. Franklin, Sr. She was also the oldest of three siblings, preceded in death by her brother Kenneth (Mike) Franklin, who was 17 years younger and was like a son to her. Her oldest brother, Curtis L. Franklin, Jr., and his wife, Angie, were great pals to each other, enjoying many visits and adventures together.
Gail married her husband, Wade, at the age of 20 in February 1959, and they were a perfect match. He adored her and made her laugh; she was his biggest supporter. Much of their marriage was spent in the military, moving nearly every year for over twenty years and raising their children in many places including California, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Germany. In all of these places, she set up, organized, and made each of the houses they lived in a home. Ever the dedicated army wife, she was the consummate hostess and stabilizing force that kept the home fires burning in order to maintain a sense of normality for her children during two tours of service in Vietnam for her husband and countless other sacrifices she made during those years. Their last military assignment brought them to Crofton, MD where she lived for the longest stretch of her married life, in one house, for over 20 years. It was also here that she was able to utilize the business education she received at what was once known as Anderson College in Anderson, SC. to establish her own career in banking, where she rose to the position of bank manager. It was an ideal job for her, bringing her southern charm and organizational skills into good use.
Following the heartbreaking death of her husband, Gail moved to Pennsylvania to be near family, living in Lansdale and eventually moving to the Lutheran Community at Telford. While in PA, she made new friends and rediscovered the social joy of playing various card games. She was an avid reader of novels, always engrossed in a book or two on her kindle and iPad. She did quite well keeping up with the evolving digital age, using emails, texts, and FaceTime to connect with loved ones.
When living in Maryland, Gail was very involved in her church, First Baptist Church of Crofton, MD, where she continued to maintain friendships until the end. Upon relocating, she joined a local Methodist Church, volunteering her time to help with office work. Religion had been a priority in her life no matter where she lived and was missed during these last years when she could no longer drive to services and enjoy the community connection.
Gail’s family was the greatest joy of her life. Above all things, she adored being a mother and grandmother. Nobody could miss her face lighting up when one of the children (young or old) were in her presence, or the cheery “Hi Hon” greeting she gave when she answered the phone. Because of this, she will be greatly missed by her son Brad Elrod and his wife, Shirley of Telford, PA, her daughter Kyena Cornelius and her husband Robert of Mankato, MN and her precious grandchildren, their spouses, and her great-grandchildren; Thomas, Erica and Morgan Elrod of Ambler, PA; Jason, Sarah, Layla and Wyatt Elrod of McDonald, PA; Shannon, Daniel, William, Olivia and Cali Dingman of Schwenksville, PA; Curtis, Caity, Colin, and Caroline Cornelius of Fort Dix, NJ; and Julia Cornelius of Richmond, VA. She will live on through the many heartwarming stories her family will share with one another.
Gail was a daughter, sister, wife, aunt, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend to many throughout the various stages of her life, enjoying most of those roles at the same time and doing all of them well. She had the ability to make each of the people in her life feel special, loved, and valued. No matter where she went, her southern accent was always a topic of conversation despite the fact that she had not resided in the South since her early 20’s. To all who knew her, she will be remembered as a kind, caring, and generous soul, always wanting to help a friend, hug her grandchildren, and nurture her family. She was a wonderful lady, who faced her illness with grace, and who will be missed by many.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, gathering together with family and friends will be compromised so the family will honor Gail privately. At a date to be determined, she will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, fulfilling her wish to be reunited with her husband. Before her death, she expressed her request that if so inclined, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be sent to The Center for Loss and Bereavement, 3847 Skippack Pike, PO Box 1299, Skippack, PA 19474, where she volunteered her time for years. She also wanted to say thank you to her hospice nurse, Cherie Wallace, and home health aide, Lori Yerkes, whose genuine compassion made her last days easier.