Memorial services for Geraldine Claire Heres Hightower, 86, former owner and publisher of The Guardian-Journal, of Homer, were held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 11, 2017, at First Methodist Church of Homer with the Rev. R. B. Moore officiating, following a private family burial in Arlington Cemetery.
Mrs. Hightower was born July 20, 1930 in New Orleans to Harold Heres and Hilda Morgan Heres. She passed away at her home on May 9, 2017, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
She graduated high school from University High, the LSU Laboratory School, in Baton Rouge after attending schools in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Coral Gables, Florida. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in upper elementary education from LSU. She was a member of Chi Omega sorority.
She visited Homer while in college with some friends from Homer when she fell in love with the town and promptly announced she “was going to find someone from Homer and live here for the rest of her life.” Several months later, she met the love of her life, Billy Dale Hightower, on a blind date and did just that.
After her marriage to Billy, she completed her degree while he was in service during the Korean Conflict. She taught at Lisbon High School after completion of her education. She then was able to move to England to live with her husband while he was in service.
Upon their return to the States, she gave birth to their first child, a daughter, and three years later, the birth of a second daughter. She then went to work for social services as a case worker. As her children grew older, she began doing odd jobs at The Guardian-Journal, which was owned by her in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Hightower, and then by her husband following the death of his father. In the late 1960s, she returned to teaching at the newly opened Claiborne Academy, as a sixth grade teacher.
Later, she returned to college to work on getting a degree in library science at Louisiana Tech University before she returned to the newspaper as a reporter in the early 1970s. She enjoyed reporting on meetings and meeting people at the newspaper.
Mrs. Hightower especially loved her grandchildren. She did whatever she could for them — taking them on trips, shopping, etc. — bragging on them whenever possible and attending as many athletic, arts, and other educational and recreational events they were involved in.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 28 years, her parents, her youngest daughter Hilda Hightower Spillers, and her sister Ann Heres Barham, as well as her in-laws, Mrs. and Mrs. J. P. Hightower.
She is survived by Kathryn H. Hightower and husband Bill, of Homer; granddaughter, Susan S. Kelley and husband David, of Little Rock; grandsons Wes Spillers and wife Lauren, of Weatherford, Texas, and Hunter Spillers of Dallas; seven great-grandchildren, Caitlyn, Jenna and Ella Kelley of Little Rock and Addison, Michael, Colt and Landry Spillers of Weatherford, Texas; nieces and nephews, Pam Harris, Claire Mayer, Rusty Barham, and Emilia McCue; many great-nieces and -nephews; and friends.
Honorary pallbearers were her very special caregivers.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the donor’s choice.
Friends and family are invited to leave condolences online at www.rose-neath.com.