Geraleen Beatrice Freeman Talmage went to be with her Lord and Savior on the evening of December 19, 2021. Born September 12, 1931, in Caldwell, West Virginia she was the seventh child of Bessie B. and Parris E. Wood. She lived in a Christian home where many ministers, laymen, and missionaries visited and these visitors influenced her future career decisions.
Rev. G. F. Talmage is preceded in death by her sisters and brothers including Pauline Bowden (Paul), Kathleen LeFon (Leonard), Rev. Roy Wood (Mabel), Rev. Parris Wood (Lelia), Sanford Wood (Dot), and Rev. Curtis Wood (Myrtle) as well as her Mother and Father. We would also be remiss in not remembering her first husband, John Freeman.
She is survived by her husband of 59 years, Rev. D. E. John Talmage of Dublin Virginia, who cared for her these last many years of dementia, her son Daniel (Danny) E. J. Talmage, Jr. (Germantown, MD), her adopted daughter – Beatrice Rene Talmage (Hagerstown, MD), and her grandson, Brandon Talmage-Roy.
Geraleen started her education at Caldwell Elementary School, then White Sulpher Junior High. She then moved to Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs Georgia. After Emmanuel, she went to Holmes Bible College where she completed her High School Diploma and graduated with a Bachelor of Sacred Literature degree. Upon graduation, she was married to John Freeman at the Holmes Memorial Church. They were accepted as a couple to become missionaries to Africa by the Pentecostal Holiness Church (PHC) and Rev. Geraleen Talmage was ordained as a minister and missionary in August of 1952. Tragedy struck with John being killed in a tragic car accident as they were itinerating to travel to South Africa. Seeking God’s will for her life Gerry then decided to continue her studies at Lynchburg College where she received her B.A. in 1954.
In 1954 she traveled to Africa and served on a mission station in what was then eastern Transvaal near Nelspruit. During these seven years, she served with her good friend and lifelong friend, Phylis Butler. Later on, at the mission station, her mother also visited Gerry as well as her brother, Roy Wood, who was also serving as a missionary in Pretoria, South Africa. Near the end of her time in South Africa, the Talmage family visited the mission station while on holiday and the eldest son John started writing letters, making calls, and a friendship blossomed into a romance.
Geraleen traveled back to the United States for her furlough and John moved to Holmes Theological Seminary to study for the ministry. They became engaged in 1961, married in 1962, and upon John’s graduation in 1964 they were sent to South Africa as missionaries to Cape Town for the PHC.
Geraleen and John helped build the PHC church in Cape Town from one church to over 20 churches in the next few years while having their son Danny in 1965 and adopting their daughter Bea in 1973. During this time Geraleen was active in the women’s ministry and Christian education programs for the church in Cape Town and later throughout the country. She would teach and lead correspondence courses and spoke in five different languages so that she could correct the homework that was sent in. She became head of the correspondence courses for Africa in 1986. Her passion was leading women and teaching them that they could serve and work for God as a leader. She preached and taught from early on and even preached two Mother’s Day services two days after being blessed with Beatrice. In 1990 her passion for women’s ministry was rewarded by her being named the Jurisdictional President for PHC Women’s Ministries in Southern Africa as well as the PHC Women’s Ministries Director for Africa, all while being based in Krugersdorp South Africa. The rest of her time in Africa was spent mentoring, writing, teaching, and leading the ministries throughout Africa as amazing growth was reported in women’s ministries and Christian education in the IPHC. She also spoke at the many supporting churches in the United States as well as at the quadrennial national convention of the church.
Gerry and John retired in 2005 after serving 41 years together in Africa. They moved to Dublin Virginia where they both became active in their local Pulaski church in the prayer ministry and working with seniors in the Appalachian Conference of the IPHC. When time permitted Gerry enjoyed bird watching, playing scrabble, and sitting on the deck with her husband. In retirement, Gerry also was a church historian and wrote the history of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Africa used that material to lecture at the centennial celebration in South Africa in 2013.
In compiling this obituary, the family found a note from her father that ended with: “Look to God for your help in time of need and trust Him Always for He and He alone can keep you and Save your Soul when this life comes to an end!”
The Family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Holmes Bible School or to Emmanuel College. A graveside service will be held on December 27, 2021, at 2:00 pm in Dublin, Virginia, at the Appalachian Conference Cemetery and a memorial service will be held in April.
The Talmage family is in the care of Norris-Stevens Funeral Home. Online condolences can be made at www.stevensfuneralhomepulaski.com