Emilie Sandra Dunagan Deal

Former First Lady Emilie Sandra Dunagan Deal, age 80, of Demorest, passed away Tuesday, August 23, 2022.

Born on February 1, 1942, in Gainesville, Georgia, she was the eldest daughter of the late George Jeter and Ida Lou Waldrep Dunagan.

Mrs. Deal’s bright light shone throughout the state. As Georgia’s First Lady, Mrs. Deal promoted community service, volunteerism, and literacy initiatives alongside her husband of 56 years, Former Governor Nathan Deal. Mrs. Deal launched a statewide campaign called “With a Servant’s Heart” in 2011. In 2015, she co-authored a book, Memories of the Mansion. Mrs. Deal’s crowning achievement as First Lady was reading to more than 250,000 students across every Georgia county in over 1,000 classrooms.

Mrs. Deal was proud of her humble upbringing in the mill town of New Holland where she and her family attended New Holland Baptist Church. As a graduate of East Hall High School, she remained a vocal advocate of public education and community involvement. Prior to Mrs. Deal’s marriage to John Nathan Deal on June 12, 1966, she graduated from Georgia Women’s College (Georgia College and State University), where she later returned to earn her master’s degree in Education. As the daughter of two educators, Mrs. Deal made it her lifelong mission to teach and inspire all who would listen, particularly young children.

Mrs. Deal remained dedicated to her community. She was a long-time member of First Baptist Church of Gainesville, serving as a Sunday School teacher and a Prayer Group leader. She was dedicated to helping those in need and graciously gave her time and resources to local charitable organizations, such as Randy & Friends, Good News Clinic, and local food banks. Mrs. Deal served on several boards throughout her life, most recently at Piedmont University and her alma mater, Georgia College and State University.

Survivors include her devoted husband, Governor Nathan Deal, son and daughter-in-law, Jason and Denise Deal of Gainesville; daughter, Mary Emily Deal of Atlanta; daughter and son-in-law, Carrie Deal and Clint Wilder of Rome; daughter and son-in-law, Katie Deal and Sam Comeau of Demorest; grandchildren: Fallin Deal, Rosemily O’Bradovich, Noah Deal, Dawson Deal, Cordelia O’Bradovich, Ethan Wilder; sister and brother-in-law, Brenda Dunagan and Frank Sims of Clermont; brother, Michael Dunagan of Cornelia; brother and sister-in-law, William Bradley and Mary Grant Dunagan of Rome; along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Reverend Bruce Morgan, who officiated the wedding of Governor and Mrs. Deal, will officiate the private service and interment. A public Celebration of Life is scheduled for 2:00 pm on Saturday, August 27, 2022, at Lanier Technical College, Ramsey Conference Center in Gainesville with Reverend Bill Coates officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages honoring First Lady Deal by supporting The Deal Foundation. The Foundation will continue her commitment to spreading the importance of lifelong learning and community leadership through scholarships, book distribution, and literacy programs. Donations can be made to The Deal Foundation, PO Box 2, Demorest, Georgia 30535. www.thedealfoundation.org.

The Celebration of Life service will be live-streamed, and details can be found at https://vimeo.com/742716737

Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel 989 Riverside Drive Gainesville, Georgia. For online condolences www.memorialparkfuneralhomes.com.

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