Mrs. “Tootsie” Johnson Gaines

December 14, 2012

Matilda Joe Johnson Gaines, better known as Tootsie, of Elberton, Georgia passed away Friday morning, December 14, 2012 with her family at her side.

Tootsie was born July 28, 1923 in Gainesville, GA. She was the daughter of the late Elsa Emilie Gunther Johnson and Dr. Albert Sidney Johnson, Sr. She was married for over 69 years to her beloved husband, George Albert Gaines, Jr.

Tootsie attended the University of Georgia, majoring in journalism. Near the end of her junior year, and having just been elected president of her Kappa Delta Chapter, she left school to marry Lt. George Albert Gaines, Jr. who was scheduled to be sent soon to North Africa with the U.S. Army. They married on March 13, 1943, and two months later he was heading to war.

Aside from being a devoted daughter, wife, and mother, Tootsie faithfully served in her community teaching the 3-year old Sunday School class at First Baptist Church, Elberton and working with the Elbert Memorial Hospital Auxiliary for decades.

In addition to her husband, Tootsie is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Elsa Ann Gaines and Joe Paul Meyer of Dahlonega, GA; a son and daughter-in-law, George Albert Gaines, III and Paul Ann of Greenville, SC; two granddaughters: Elizabeth Ann Gaines, and Martha Ellen DeJong and her husband, Jack; and several nieces and nephews.

Tootsie was preceded in death by her brother, Dr. Albert Sidney Johnson, Jr. and sister, Carl Frieda “Peggy” Johnson Estes.

A service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon, December 16, 2012 at First Baptist Church, Elberton. A time of visitation will be at 1:00 p.m. in The Fellowship Hall just prior to the service. Interment will be at Elmhurst Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Elbert Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship Fund, the Church Organ Fund at First Baptist Church, or to St. Mary’s Hospice of Athens, Ga.

You may express condolences to the family at

Arrangements for Mrs. Tootsie Johnson Gaines are in the care of Hicks Funeral Home of Elberton.