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Posted: April 29, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Insatiable soul

Photo by Jennifer T. Long/

Blessed: Louly Fowler Hay graduated from seminary at the age of 61.

Some people never tire of learning new things or wearing enough hats to fill a closet - Louly Fowler Hay is one of those people.

Hay was born in 1934 at Emory University Hospital and was brought home to live in Covington. She comes from a long line of Newton Countians and much of her family still resides in Covington.

"It's very much home to me," Hay said.

A 1953 graduate of Newton County High School, Hay went on to earn a degree from Hollins College - now Hollins University - in Roanoake, Va., in 1957. Two years later she earned a Master's in teaching from Emory University.

This summer she and husband Sam Burney Hay Jr. will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

After a few years of teaching English at Newton County High, her children were born and she decided to stay home with the four of them on the family's dairy farm on Dearing Street.

"I spent many years with my children; we 4-H'ed, scouted, had music and dance lessons," Hay said, "and we had just a wonderful time running in circles. They were glorious years."

After sending her children off to college, she began caring for her aging parents, in-laws and childless aunt and uncle (Robert O. and Florence Arnold).

"There came a period of time that my responsibilities with them were not so great and I really wanted more nourishment for myself," Hay reflected on caring for her relatives in declining health.

An intern stationed at Covington First Presbyterian Church invited Hay to explore the Columbia Theological Seminary. She soon began taking one class at a time.

After her mother died in 1992, Hay decided she would work on obtaining a degree from the seminary.

"My seminary experience was one of the most enriching times of my life," Hay said. "I especially enjoyed pastoral theology - one of my professors told me I'd been doing that all my life."

She graduated in 1996 at the age of 61 and began working as chaplain at Georgia Baptist Hospital, which is now Atlanta Medical Center.

In 1997, she was ordained and called to serve as the associate pastor of Conyers Presbyterian Church, where she served for six years.

Now a life member of the Presbyterian Women of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, Hay serves on a volunteer basis as the parish associate of Covington First Presbyterian Church. In that capacity she assists in leading worship, administers sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, leads marriage and funeral services, visits the sick and hosts church gatherings.

In addition to being a teacher, mother and minister, Hay has worked as director of Bank of Covington and Main Street Bank, served as the first president of the Arts Association in Newton County and is a dedicated volunteer at the YMCA.

With no signs of stopping all her endeavors, Hay said she
wishes she could do more.

"Were I younger, I'd go back to school for another degree," she admitted.

She said she truly enjoys serving her church's congregation and county residents because so many of them have enhanced her life with their kindness.


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