Janet "Gayle" Ledbetter passed away at home in Cleburne on Sunday, October 15, 2017 after a long bout with cancer.
Gayle was born on March 29, 1948 in Meridian, TX to Geraldine and Graham Appleby, and grew up in Iredell. She kept a lifelong love of the area and family, even after moving to Dallas as a five-year old where she and her future husband, Charles, lived within a few blocks of one another, even though they didn't know it until after they were married.
She was legendary in her pursuit of genealogy, traveling the country to visit local historical societies, libraries, and cemeteries, accompanied by the love of her life, Charles. Gayle and Charles were married on January 26, 1968. They celebrated 49 anniversaries, and Charles was with her when she passed.
Gayle's other love was community service through politics. She began service by running for the Liberty Chapel School Board, then served as precinct chair in Sand Flat for the local Democratic Party. She attended most of the state Democratic conventions since 1980 and two national conventions to choose the Democratic nominee for president. The highlight of her service was a run for State Representative and then Johnson County Democratic Chair, where she presided for many years.
She attended University of Texas at Arlington where she achieved a Bachelor's and Master's in History and TCU where she did doctoral study in Middle Eastern History, but one of her favorite things to do was attend Cleburne's award-winning theater, the Plaza in Cleburne, where she and Charles were early season ticket holders.
Gayle is survived by her husband of almost 50 years, Charles Ledbetter, son and daughter-in-law Mark and Lynn Ledbetter and their daughter, Alison; her daughter, Amy Ledbetter Parham and her children Clay and Meridian Parham; 27 first cousins and a favorite great aunt Quata Powers of Iredell. Gayle and Charles also have many neighbors and friends who helped throughout her illness and to whom the family is deeply grateful. She is preceded in death by her parents, Geraldine and Graham Appleby, and brother, Don Appleby of Cleburne.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on October 21st at First Baptist Church at 414 North Main Street in Cleburne, where she and Charles were members for many years. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Habitat for Humanity Texas (www.habitattexas.org) or PO Box 850, Buda, TX 78610.
Published on October 20, 2017