Wilda Coyle

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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Wilda “Lulu” Coyle, 91, of Bainbridge, passed away Friday, March 10, 2023.

The funeral service was held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, 13, 2023, at Morningside Baptist Church with Rev. Jimmy Dean officiating.  Interment followed at Oak City Cemetery with Lee Thomas, Jay Wells, Dan Bryant, Randy Daniel, Lee Gilstrap, and Ed Robinson serving as active pallbearers.

The family received friends immediately following the service. Online visitors may sign the guest register at www.bryantfuneralga.com. Memorial donations may be made to: Morningside Baptist Church Preschool, PO Box 7009, Bainbridge, GA 39818, Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society, 1250 Cox Avenue, Bainbridge, GA 39819, Salvation Army of Bainbridge, 600 S. Scott Street, Bainbridge, GA 39819, or Gentiva Hospice, 432 E. Shotwell Street, Bainbridge, GA 39819.

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Wilda Frances Pyle was born February 17, 1932, in Bainbridge, Ga., the daughter of Afflect & Alvia Floyd Pyle. She was a graduate of Bainbridge High School, Class of 1948, and attended Bessie Tift College & Norman College. Wilda married W.M. Coyle in 1952. During W.M.’s Air Force years, they lived in San Antonio, TX, eventually moving to Atlanta. While W.M. finished his degree at Georgia Tech, Wilda worked at the Capitol. (No one would dispute Wilda probably ran the state from there.) They returned to Bainbridge in 1958, and as they say, “the rest is history”.

Wilda’s nature was to involve and be involved. Her outgoing personality and constant state of happiness drew people in. She led by example helping those in need and volunteering everywhere, literally. Wilda did not mind stepping out of the box and taking a risk. She was the last of the original families who stepped out in faith to start Morningside Baptist Church where she served faithfully through the years as a Sunday School teacher, church clerk, choir member, and adviser. Her innovative ideas resulted in a business venture with her lifetime friend, Joyce Robinson. The Body Shoppe was a local establishment offering a exercise classes for women.

Wilda would touch many lives throughout her career. She began working with Mr. Hargrave “doing books” and later with Toby Dowdy at WMGR. Life took her to the banking world with a short stint at Bainbridge Junior College (of course to help them get rolling). Wilda retired from C&S Bank, decided she still had plenty to offer, and moved to First Port City Bank where she retired a second time. Her reach included serving on Salvation Army Board of Directors with boots on the ground for an extended period during the flood in 1994, past president of DBBA, member of Women in Banking, Keep America Beautiful volunteer, and entertainment chairman of Riverside ArtsFest during the early years. Her radio airtime and the infamous local television broadcast, “Wednesdays with Wilda”, created a sense of community while providing an outlet for “Lulu” stories from all walks of life. Family and church remained a priority regardless of the busyness encumbering a big life in a small town. Her legacy will live forever in those she taught how to love well, serve others, and spread happiness.

Survivors include her children, Kathy & Keith Pitts of Nashville, Ga., and Babs Coyle of Bainbridge; her grandchildren, Kyle & Samantha Pitts of Hahira and Kaleigh & Jeffery Vanlandingham of Valdosta; her great-grandchildren, Hudson Pitts of Hahira and Ellie Vanlandingham of Valdosta; and generations of friends impacted by her charm and unforgettable smile. In addition to her parents, Wilda was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years, W.M. Coyle, and her siblings, Dwight Pyle, Rebecca Clearman, Bernard Pyle, and Betty Lyons.

Bryant Funeral Home, located at 105 N. Florida Street, is assisting the family with arrangements. (229-246-3321)