Dixie Gallaspy

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dixie Nell Yates Gallaspy of Bogalusa died on June 28, 2016, after a lengthy illness.

She was born on Palestine Plantation southwest of Franklinton on Dec. 12, 1934, the sixth child of Fred W. Yates and Mrs. Camille Gardner Yates. Mrs. Gallaspy graduated from Franklinton High School in 1953 as co-valedictorian of her class, and went to Texas State College for Women, where she received her bachelor’s degree in art in 1957.

After working as an assistant home demonstration agent in St. Landry Parish, she was employed by Mueller’s Department Store in Lake Charles in her chosen vocation as an interior designer. After moving to Bogalusa, Mrs. Gallaspy established Dixie’s Designs, which provided and implemented aesthetic designs for the interiors of both homes and commercial structures, with emphasis for years on the interior colors and arrangements of motion picture houses then being built throughout the South by Gulf States Theaters.

At one time, in conjunction with the late Edgar Ferguson, she designed and manufactured women’s clothing under the name of “d nelle” and marketed it through several of the major Canal Street clothing emporiums. She was a founding organizer of the Louisiana Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, and also was appointed by Gov. Edwin Edwards as a charter member of the Louisiana State Commission on Women’s Rights.

In 1985, Mrs. Gallaspy brought the “bed and breakfast” concept to Bogalusa. She had earlier purchased the acreage known as “Smoky Creek Plantation,” where Mr. and Mrs. Vertrees Young had maintained their home for many years, and she adapted the home and grounds to accommodate overnight guests. Many couples were joined in marriage there, and in the frantic months following Hurricane Katrina, first responders were billeted in the manor house.

In 1981, she was asked to serve as the first queen of the Magic City Carnival Association, and with the late Vertrees Young who served as king, introduced the Mardi Gras celebration to Washington Parish.

Early in her career, she was recognized as Bogalusa’s Woman of the Year by the Bogalusa Professional Women’s Association, and she was later honored by the entire city as its Citizen of the Year for 1982. In 1986, Mrs. Gallaspy founded the Smoky Creek School for Girls, providing pre-teen tutelage on table and social graces, health habits and nutrition, skin care and cosmetics, dating, formal entertaining, and other topics appropriate for girls who are about to mature into young ladies. Guest physicians, dieticians, cosmetologists and other professionals conduct classes, and the school continues to receive national recognition. Her Sundays were preoccupied with worship services and the conducting of her adult Sunday school class at Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial United Methodist Church.

Mrs. Gallaspy was listed in Who’s Who in America for many years.

She was preceded in death by her parents and by her siblings, Frederic O. Yates, John Mousely Yates and Lyda Yates Wood.

She is survived by her husband of 58 years, John N. Gallaspy; sons, Dr. John Whithurst Gallaspy and wife Stacy, Gardner Weeks Gallaspy and wife Lori, and Leland Redding Gallaspy and wife Tonya; grandchildren, Connor, Caitlyn, Marianna and Molly (Whit’s children), Will and Emily (Gardner’s children), and Caroline and Grant Gallaspy (Leland’s children); and by sisters, Margie Yates Jenkins and Doris Yates Magee.

Her entire life, spanning from her childhood when dropping seed corn in a furrow ahead of her father’s plow, to her later times of providing programs and entertainment for nursing home residents, was devoted to service to fellow human beings — cheerful and wholesome service, lovingly offered.

Visitation will be at ESM United Methodist Church in Bogalusa from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, July 1, and 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, July 2, followed by the funeral services conducted by the Rev. Bill Moon at the church at 11 a.m. Interment will be carried out later in the Pelican Cemetery in DeSoto Parish.

Pallbearers will be nephews Mark Jenkins, Mitchell Magee, Price Yates and Johnny Yates, grandsons John Connor Gallaspy, Grant Gallaspy and Will Gallaspy, and loyal family friend Bill Nielsen.

To view and sign the register book, visit online at pooleritchiefuneralhome.com.