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Margaret Geer Sledge

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March 12 & 13 Margaret Sledge.JPG

Margaret Geer Sledge of Arcadia, better known as “Mimi” or “Miss Margaret” to family and friends, went home to be with her Lord on Sunday, March 10. A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13, at First Baptist Church, Arcadia, with Rev. Jeff Hoffman officiating. Interment will be at the Arcadia Cemetery at 9:30 a.m.

Margaret was born on May 22, 1924, in Augusta, GA, to William Frederick Geer and Ida Fuller Geer, the only daughter in a family of four children. After attending Augusta Junior College and Bessie Tift College, she followed her brother to Baylor University in Waco, TX, where she graduated with a degree in religion. Following God’s call to ministry, she attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX, where she graduated with a Master’s of Religious Education degree with a specialization in Early Childhood Education.

After seminary, Margaret moved to Ruston, LA, in 1949 to begin the first weekday kindergarten program at First Baptist Church. On June 16, 1950, in Augusta, GA, She married her “Honey,” H. Rupert Sledge, Bienville Parish Clerk of Court. They built a home in Arcadia and had three children together: Sharlande, Jimmy, and Kathy. She lived in Arcadia for over 62 years.

Her education and experience in Christian education have been invaluable gifts to First Baptist, Arcadia, where she modeled excellence in children’s ministry to generations of teachers, parents, and children. For many years, Margaret taught preschool Sunday School, directed Vacation Bible School, and took children to camp. Her church recognized her gifts and dedicated the Children’s Resource Library in her honor.

Through commitment to the Missions Committee at her church, leadership in the Bienville Baptist Association, service on the Board of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, and full participation in Woman’s Missionary Union from the local to national level, Margaret was a link from her church to the world. Her vocation has always been Christian service. She has nurtured that gift in others, from preschoolers to senior adults, beginning with Sunbeams, World Friends, and Girls Auxiliary. In recent years she taught Sunday School at Arcadia Manor and Willow Ridge nursing homes. She mentored and encouraged dozens of younger ministers and missionaries as they serve at home and around the world.

Margaret was known for her giving and loving heart and her lively spirit. She was “salt and light” and “a little bit of sugar.” With her gifts of genuine encouragement and welcome, she endeared herself to everyone she met. She shared the love of her Savior with each person in her path. This may have been through “love gifts,” a sparkling smile, or the blessing of her testimony. Hundreds of lives have been touched and changed forever because of the love of God they experienced through Margaret Sledge. She will live in the hearts and minds of her loved ones forever.

Margaret was preceded in death by her husband, H. Rupert Sledge; her parents; and her older brother, William Dudley Geer. She is survived by her three children: Sharlande Elizabeth Sledge of Waco, TX; Jimmy Sledge and wife, Sandee, of Ruston, LA; and Kathy Sledge Watson and husband, Monty, of Austin, TX; three grandsons: Andy Watson and wife, Tori, of Atlanta, GA; JJ Sledge of Ruston, LA, and Adam Watson of Austin, TX; one great-granddaughter: Brooke Watson of Atlanta; two brothers: Calvin Geer and Robert Geer of Augusta, GA; nine nieces and nephews: John Geer, Debbie Wilke, Margaret Roland, David Geer, Jim Geer, Sam Geer, Paul Geer, Fred Geer, and Anne McBath.

Margaret was known for her giving and loving heart. She shared the love of her Savior with everyone she met. This may have been through “love gifts,” a smile or the sharing of her testimony. She will remain in the hearts and minds of her loved ones forever.

The family would like to thank the staffs of the Bienville Wellness Complex, St. Francis Medical Center, Pafford EMS, and Glenview Regional Medical Center for their help in caring for Mimi over the last week.

Memorials may be given to the Children’s and Missions Ministries at First Baptist Church, Arcadia, 2249 Hazel Street, Arcadia, LA 71001; Pine Cove Christian Camps, Attention: summer camp scholarships, P.O. 9055, Tower, TX 75711-9055; or Shalom Children’s Center (Ghana), Lake Shore Baptist Church, 5801 Bishop Drive, Waco, TX 76710.

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