Denise Matthews

Denise special Pic0003

Denise Lynn Gay Matthews, 58, of Carnesville, passed away Friday afternoon, February 5, 2016 at her residence.

Born March 24, 1957, in Landstuhl, Germany, she was the daughter of James Edward “Jim” Gay and the late Charity Elizabeth “Libby” Puckett Gay. She was a Magna Cum Lauda graduate from Brenau College. She and her husband, Guy,  were married August 18, 1979, in Snellville, GA. She was a news editor with the Franklin County Citizen for 23 years and was recently named Editor Emeritus for her many achievements with the paper. During that time she earned several awards and honors for her writing and editing. She was active in many organizations especially the Power of Hope, and was a member of the Lavonia First Baptist Church.

She is survived by her husband Guy Matthews; son and daughter-in-law, Tyler and Laurel Matthews, Martin, GA; two daughters and son-in-law, Ashley and Dustin Drake, Baldwin, GA; and Whitney Leigh Matthews, Carnesville, GA; her father, Jim Gay; and grandson, Beckett Carter “Kit” Matthews.

A celebration of life will be 11am Monday morning at Lavonia First Baptist Church with Dr. Larry Finger. Interment will be in the Lavonia City Cemetery.

The body is at the Ginn Funeral Home, Carnesville. The family is at the home and they will receive friends from 1:30 until 4:30 Sunday afternoon at the funeral home. Flowers are welcome but those wishing to make memorials please do so to the Power of Hope, P.O. Box 286, Lavonia, GA 30553. Condolences may be sent to the family at


  1. Aundria Whitfield Young
    June 10, 2017 - 6:23 pm

    I read Denise’s articles so many times. Her since of humor was exactly like the famous author Erma Bombeck. I had the please of meeting her so many years ago while shopping in Lavonia. She was someone you cannot forget.

  2. Aundria Whitfield Young
    June 10, 2017 - 6:16 pm

    I came home to visit my Family in Red Hill, and while shopping in Lavonia met Denise. I read her column many times over the years. Her sense of humor and her column reminded me of the famous author, Erma Bombeck.

  3. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Mrs Matthews. Our prayers are with the family. She was truly a blessing to have such a strong and resilient family. May God guide and bless each of you through these difficult times.

  4. Becky & Thomas Dixon
    February 8, 2016 - 8:35 pm

    We were so sorry to hear of the passing of Denise. Our love and prayers are with the family.

  5. I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. I got to know Denise really well in the last 4 years and she was absolutely the kindest, sweetest, and most caring person I think I have ever known. She loved her family and was very dedicated to her work for the newspaper. She will be greatly missed but never forgotten. She was the BEST!

  6. Terri Smith Johnston
    February 8, 2016 - 12:41 pm

    Guy and family,
    We are keeping you in our prayers. Denise was a bigger than life personality – always bubbly and full of fun. I know you will miss her terribly, but what great memories you have!

  7. Terri Smith Johnston
    February 8, 2016 - 12:40 pm

    Guy and family, we are keeping you in our prayers. Denise was a bigger than life personality – always bubbly and full of fun. I know you will all miss her terribly. Love, Terri

  8. I met Denise in the late 1990s at the groundbreaking for the Northeast GA Animal Shelter. I was there as a relatively new reporter for the Madison Co. Journal and she was so kind and gracious to me. I have enjoyed reading her columns over the years and laughed out loud at her humor. She found the funny and the positive in everyday life and I admire that so much. She was also filled with grace, which came through in her writing. I was pleased to meet her again at an interview we both did with cancer survivor Amy Hanley. Denise mentioned her own battle, briefly, with breast cancer that day. I was so shocked to hear of her passing – she was so full of life and vitality! God bless her family and her friends, I know it is a great loss, not only to them, but to her community. RIP Denise.

  9. I met Denise in the late 1990s while we were both covering the opening of the Northeast GA Animal Shelter in Lavonia. I always enjoyed reading her columns and the humor and grace she gave to everyday life. I was pleased to meet her again when we both interviewed Amy Hanley on her amazing journey with cancer and recovery while she was carrying her youngest child. Denise spoke briefly of her own battle with breast cancer that day. She was, and is, an inspiration to me as a fellow journalist. She was “real” and a class act. Condolences and prayers to the family and friends of this lovely woman. Margie Richards, Madison County Journal

  10. So very sorry to hear about Denise. Prayers and thoughts are with you and your precious family. She was a beautiful lady.

  11. The Douglas Segars Family
    February 8, 2016 - 9:49 am

    Guy we are so sorry about Denise. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. If you need anything we are just down the road.

  12. Guy, I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and the family. You,Tyler,Ashely and Whitney have always been in my prayers. Ms Dee Dee was a great person and she was the same person every time that I was around her. She is in Gods hands and I know that she will be missed. God bless you and the family. Love yall

  13. Guy as we have discussed many times in the office, my prayers are with you and your family. I am so sorry for your loss. I know you and your family are strong in your faith and that will get you through the many days ahead. Take care and know we are here if you need us.

  14. Curtis & Nora Waters
    February 7, 2016 - 10:13 pm

    Matthews family: we are so sorry to hear of Denise passing. I know your hearts are broken but take comfort in the knowledge that she is no longer suffering and she is with her Lord and Savior for eternity and you can spend eternity with her! Praying for God’s blessings of peace and comfort as only He can provide. Love and hugs to all of you!

  15. Guy,I am so sorry to hear of Danise’s passing.My thoughts and prayers are with you and the kids.My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Donna & Danielle Donatelli

  16. Denise made an impression on me when we both were reporters in the 90’s; she for the Citizen, me for the NewsLeader. She enjoyed every minute of life and always found the humor. I’m sure she made an impression on many. She will be missed. My prayers for the family that God will send you peace and healing.

  17. Melvin, Mary Belle & Melva Thomason
    February 7, 2016 - 1:47 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the Denise Matthews family. May God comfort and heal your broken hearts.

  18. Sufficient Grace God will provide during your time of loss and mourning. Lean into Him. Thank you, Guy and Denise, for the friendship you have given the Terrell family. Know that our prayers are with you now. And take comfort knowing Denise is now free of her broken body basking in heavenly peace.

  19. Sending love and prayers to the family. Denise was a wonderful, sweet lady.

  20. My condolences.

  21. I didn’t know Denise personally but always loved her articles in the Franklin County Citizen. She could always make me laugh writing about “normal” life in the funniest way. Her sweet spirit will definitely be missed in this community

  22. Words, however kind, can’t mend the heartache, but those who care and share your loss wish you comfort and peace of mind.

  23. It is so sad to see someone of such value to the Community to be taken so early in life. I enjoyed her articles over the years and will miss her writings greatly. She will be missed. Our prayers are with the family…

  24. Denise you will be missed. I am so blessed because you married my brother and I gained a sister and a friend and you will be forever in my heart. Love you

  25. Eddie Puckett Family
    February 6, 2016 - 7:43 pm

    My prayers are with the family of Denise… It is so very hard to lose special people and i have fond memories of visits to Grandma Puckett’s when Aunt Libby, uncle Jim, and Denise were visiting too!

  26. Mike and Nancy Donohue
    February 6, 2016 - 7:30 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Guy and the family in this time of loss. With wonderful memories of meeting Denise over the last few years.

  27. George & Yvonne Sosby
    February 6, 2016 - 7:12 pm

    .Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the children during this sad time. We were so sorry to hear of Denise passing. May God give all of you comfort during this sad time

  28. Ashley you and your family are in my prayers. As you know my door is always open .

  29. The Bryant Family
    February 6, 2016 - 4:51 pm

    Sending all our love and prayers to the Matthews family during this very difficult time. We were blessed to have known Denise. She lit up a room with her smile and laughter. She was an amazing woman, and will be missed.

  30. Susan Crosby Gilbert
    February 6, 2016 - 4:41 pm

    I will always remember Denise from our Delta Zeta days. Even though I was older, I remember her sweet spirit and smile, and the love for others. I had not seen her in years but not surprised that she was so successful and dearly loved by many. A beautiful person who will be greatly missed but no longer having to fight that dreadful disease. Prayers are being lifted for her family, her many friends, and the community she loved so dearly.

  31. So sorry for your loss. Both mothers are at peace now. Take care and my thoughts and prayers are for all of you.

  32. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mrs Matthews in person, but if I had I would’ve told her that she must be a truly remarkable woman to have raised such a graceful and impressive young woman as her daughter, Ashley. I work with Ashley and I see first hand the results of the Mathews’ great parenting. My deepest sympathies are with the family during this difficult time.

  33. “With wings of Angels”. RIP beautiful lady, loved and missed by many . d.

  34. Mary Lou Jackson
    February 6, 2016 - 10:49 am

    Guy, Tyler, Ashley & Whitney,
    I am so sorry to hear about Denise…I will always remember her with that sweet smile and giggle. She wrote so many wonderful articles and I loved to read them. She represented Franklin County well. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers and may the love of God surround you as you face the difficult days ahead.

  35. Keeping family and friends in my prayers.

  36. I am so very sorry to hear about Denise’s passing. Tyler, Laurel and the rest of her family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  37. Stephanie K. Terrell
    February 6, 2016 - 8:50 am

    I was always glad that Denise picked my family and myself to be part of her “family”. She always told me she didn’t base family on just blood. She picked her “family”. And since God did not give her sisters she picked me as one of them. All of us “sisters” will miss her so much. Thank you Matthews clan for sharing her with us. Praying for the Matthews branch of my family. I know this is so hard, but God will be so close during the days ahead.

  38. My heart grieves for each of you and our community. Smiling, sweet, smart, beatiful and caring Denise will be missed, but forever loved. Thank you, Denise, for being the person you were.

  39. Susan and Larry Gorman
    February 6, 2016 - 12:58 am

    Am so sad to hear of Denise’s passing, just breaks my heart. My sister passed away in Oct. with cancer, she was 57. I know what you all are going through. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  40. Tammy Chappelear
    February 5, 2016 - 11:06 pm

    My prayers are with the family. I did not know her closely, but when my husband (Marty) passed from cancer 2 years ago, she wrote a story on Marty and melanoma awareness. We corresponded via email and phone. I was in the midst of grief and she shared some sweet words with me I never forgot. I will share them back to her loved ones… are hurting now because of the great love you were blessed to experience. May you all find comfort in knowing how blessed you were to have her. And may God hold you all in the coming days.

  41. I’m saddened to hear the news of Denise’s passing. She was a special lady and a friend of mine. My heart goes out to Guy and the kids for this great loss. I know she is with the Lord and no longer in pain and we will all miss her and her smile.

  42. My heart is breaking,Denise,I loved you like a sister…I will always remember our similarities,our talks,our love for the beach……I know if I had needed you all I had to do was call,and you would have been there.our friendship (yours,mine,Kendall and Connie’s ) is .something I will treasure go rest my sweet friend,until we meet again. Rhonda

  43. My condolences to the family. Growing up in Franklin County 4-H club, I often saw her when she came out to do stories. Always enjoyed seeing her.

  44. Candy and Harold Rhoades
    February 5, 2016 - 9:19 pm

    Denise was a wonderful lady and loved life…her family and God. She was a dear friend. I will miss her and that smile and those stories she wrote.
    Thank you for being at our Ribbon Cuttings in Royston…you did a great job!!!
    Our prayers to your family!

  45. Denise was funny and sweet. Really a good,good girl. Prayers for her and family. I know the Father met Denise with open arms.
    Cathy L Amerine

  46. Prayers for the family and friends of Denise Matthews. She was smart, sassy, and such a caring person. She will be missed in this community.

  47. Denise,
    I will miss you my best friend of 20 years. I am so grateful I was able to spend this last week with you and your family.

  48. Sending our prayers your way.

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