OBITUARY: Eleanor Gayle Derryberry Garrison


Eleanor Gayle Derryberry Garrison was born in Old Hickory, TN on March 28, 1940 and passed away peacefully at Hendersonville Hospital on June 16, 2024 with her four children and her sweet baby brother by her side.

Gayle is preceded in death by her father, Newton Derryberry and mother, Ruby Carpenter Derryberry, husband, Joe Millard Garrison, sisters Lyndal Burch and Pearl Smith.

Gayle is survived by her brother Newton (Leah) Derryberry; children Camille (Barry) Pickering of Cross Plains, TN, Joe (Stacy) Garrison of Portland, TN, Tim (Lee Ann) Garrison of Columbia, TN and Todd (Anna) Garrison of Glasgow, KY. She is also survived by her grandchildren Joe (Sarah) Pickering of Spring Hill, TN, Caleb (Stacey) Pickering of White House, TN, Stephen Pickering of Bowling Green, KY, Desiree (Louis) Richardson of Pensacola, FL, Tyler (Meg) Garrison of Columbia, TN, Grant Garrison of Puerto Rico, Thomas (Sydney) Garrison of Etowah, TN, Jessica Garrison of Washington DC, Nuclear Engineer MMII Braden Garrison in the Navy, Will Garrison of Columbia, TN and great-grandchildren Lena, Charlotte, Megan, Luke, Mirryn, Liam, Ansel, Louis IV and Annie.

At the age of 12, Gayle met the love of her life, Joe Millard Garrison. She graduated from DuPont High School in 1957 and married Joe on September 3, 1957. Gayle began her career in the Personal Service Office of National Life Insurance Co. Later, with the IRS, she was awarded the “Most Excellent Employee” award. After a rewarding career as a mother, homemaker and substitute teacher, Gayle earned her realtor’s license and was awarded “Realtor of the Year” with Center Hill Realty in Smithville, TN.

Gayle was a volunteer serving as North Sumner PTO President, 4H Club Leader, and President of the Sumner County MADD organization where she was instrumental in raising the drinking age in Tennessee. She was also actively involved in the Gallatin Community Chorus and the Gallatin Arts Council.

Gayle loved the Lord and His work and began to teach Bible class at the age of 14. She taught Bible classes for over 50 years. She generously gave to charitable organizations that drilled water wells in Haiti, built housing in Honduras, and built church buildings in India.

Gayle loved the outdoors, gardening and bush hogging on her farm in North Sumner County where she opened up her home and farm for entertainment and hospitality for young and old.

Gayle began writing gospel hymns at the age of 59 with her first published song “Living Water, Bread of Life”. She penned over 20 hymns, including “Let it Be Me”, “I Would that I”, “On My Way” and “Jesus is Lord” that are in use in worship services across the nation. Her songs have been sung in churches as far away as India. Inspiration for writing her hymn “Just You and Me Lord” came from a day spent bush hogging “under the blue skies, watching the birds fly.”

Gayle’s life will be celebrated first with a graveside service at Jones Cemetery in Columbia, TN at 3 PM on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 with Mr. John Hunt officiating and her grandsons will be pallbearers. On July 7, 2024, a memorial service will be held at 3 PM in Gayle’s honor at Corinth Church of Christ in Portland, TN with visitation beginning at 1 PM.

In lieu of flowers, Gayle requested donations be made to Healing Hands International Walk4Water Program at

Online condolences may be extended at


For more obituaries visit

Subscribe to our Newsletter!