Hello, I am Zona Tounsley, a cradle Baptist who grew up on a farm outside Metter, Georgia, near Savannah, where I participated in church and school activities and was active in 4-H Club work on the local, district, state and national levels and was an International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) delegate to Sweden in 1963. An article, “I’m on Pins and Needles”, about my sewing class for younger 4-H’ers was featured in Seventeen Magazine.
I am a UGA graduate whose career began in textiles research at Georgia Tech. I met my future husband, Doug Tounsley, a cradle Episcopalian from Albany, GA, also a UGA grad, when he was working on a project for Sperry Corp at the Charleston Navy Yard. By that time, I was working at the newly opened Baptist College at Charleston, now Charleston Southern University, as Assistant to the Dean of Women and Coordinator of Student Activities.
Doug and I were married in 1967 and shortly thereafter bought our first home in nearby Summerville where I was confirmed at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church by Bishop Gray Temple in May of 1968—in the same church where our two children, Zona (Zo) and Tift, were baptized years later. After our first ten years in Summerville, Doug’s career took us to nine cities in seven states and seven dioceses throughout the southeast over the next 40 years—including Holly Hill and Georgetown in SC, Wytheville, VA, Asheboro, NC, where we met Don and Nancy Bobo at Church of the Good Shepherd, Winston Salem, NC, where Cleve Callison was Sr. Warden at St. Paul’s and Gini sang in the choir, Scottsboro, AL, Atlanta, GA, Dublin, GA, and then back to Scottsboro, AL. Each move was made easy because we quickly became active in an Episcopal church in each new home town.
After retirement in 2010, we moved to Wilmington where our son and his family live so we could enjoy knowing our two grandsons as they grow up. Currently I taxi Logan (15) and Cullen (13) to Boy Scout meetings on Monday evenings. Logan is working toward becoming an Eagle Scout this fall—about the same time he’ll be able to get his driver’s license, then I’ll lose my grandma taxi job!
I have loved being an Episcopalian and being active in ECW on all levels, being a church school teacher, vestry member, being on an endless number of committees, altar guilds, delegate to diocesan conventions, delegate to Province IV ECW Annual meetings at Kanuga Conference Center, Diocese of Georgia UTO Coordinator, Province IV Rep and Member-at-Large on the National UTO Board (2006-2012), member of the Province IV Executive Council (when Bishop Clifton Daniels was its VP) and have been a delegate to the last six ECW Triennial Meetings/General Conventions as a diocesan ECW delegate or as a member of the United Thank Offering Board (2003-2018). I must say that the best thing I ever did was to fall in love with and marry Doug, a cradle Episcopalian, and to fall in love with the Episcopal Church and its many opportunities to serve and grow.
I look forward to the end of this long pandemic so that we can all worship together safely in our beautiful sanctuary at St. Paul’s and can socialize and work together on our various outreach and in-reach projects to do God’s work here in Wilmington and beyond. And I look forward to getting to know each of you as we worship and work together.