This page is dedicated to positive, uplifting and inspiring news about accomplishments and contributions by Gist descendants.  If you want to share something “positively Gist” or you know of a family member who is making a positive impact please email BryanG@gistfamilyreunion.com the details

The following links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the Gist National Family Reunion of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. The Gist National Family Reunion bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.




Profile #6- Emma Gist
10 Minutes with Emma

Who have been your strongest (non-family) influences in life? Why?
The Church my Pastor and the strength of our Fellowship.
 

  
What is the most difficult thing you have ever experienced?


Being a single Parent raising 3 boys but praise God I was able to send 2 to college I’m Thankful for my Aunt Evelyn Gist Lee (deceased) for calling me, encouraging me, and praying with me.  It really makes a difference when family encourage and pray for each other.

  
What are you most proud of accomplishing?

Raising my 3 boys into manhood!  Praise God I never had to go to a jail or any issues with drugs.
 
Reginald Gist graduated from Florida Memorial College.  Michael Gist graduated from University of Minnesota and served in the Marines.  Travis Gist is a truck driver.  They are all hard working and I am really proud of them.
 
 What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?
I hope that people remember that I was a great parent who really loved my children.  That I tried my best to be a godly example and teach them how to be independent.   
 
 
What has been your favorite vacation spot?
Bahamas and Las, Vegas
  
Can you share a fond memory from a Gist National Family Reunion? Helping to organize the Family Reunion in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was a joy to have so many family members travel to the area that I call home.
  


What are your hobbies?
Church, Vacations and Mission work.
  
What do you feel most grateful for in your life?
 For living for 71 years and the success of my Boys!
 
 
What do you remember about the first Gist Family reunion in 1972 or your earliest reunion memory?
 
Lee Street -the fellowship of the family and the real soul food cooked by our aunts and playing down in the gully.

 
Why are our family reunions important to you?

 
Getting to reconnect with family members from all around the country.  Also, I always get a chance to be introduced family who I have never met before.



 



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Profile #5- Mary Guest Hollis
10 minutes with Mary


1.       How did your Gist/Guest ancestors influence you in your journey?
 

My ancestors had a great influences on my spiritual, personal, and professional life:
Spiritual- My great grandfather was a minister and although he had passed when I was born his influence on my dad‘s life lived on. My earliest memory of my existence contains my dad, Mr. William Edward Guest walking with me to Sunday School each Sunday morning.  He would leave our one car for our mother, Mrs. Emma Mae Guest to drive to church at 11:00. Being influenced by my parents, Sunday School and Church services, I learned to love God at an early age. I gave my life to Christ at the age of 12 at a revival at a neighborhood church, New Bethel Baptist Church where Rev. Hall was the pastor and immediately joined our family church, St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church on the following Sunday.  Rev. C.F. Thomas was my pastor. I served in many positions in the church. I married my wonderful husband, Sylvester Hollis and joined his church, Brownsville United Methodist Church. I serve as a Steward, Women’s Adult Sunday School Teacher, Education Committee Chair, Past President of United Methodist Women and Choir member.
 
Personal Life- We were always taught to take care of what we had and to share with others.  We were taught early on that sharing included knowledge, time, and service.  Whatever we could do for someone else, we were encouraged to do it at no charge.  We learned by the examples our parents displayed as they had observed their parents and other family members who did not have much but always had enough to share. 
 
My dad explained to me that although we spelled our name Guest, our name was really Gist but the spelling had been changed when his dad, Will Gist moved from South Carolina to Alabama.  A new name, a new beginning! I love both and wear them proudly!
 
  Professional- Giving my best at all times was instilled at an early age and was carried into my professional life.  Being an educator was definitely influenced by my ancestors in that they had so much respect for teachers and held them in high esteem. They were givers and I wanted to give back as well.

 
2.       Who have been your strongest (non-family) influences in life? Why?
 
Dr. Gertrude Crum Sanders was one of my college professors who taught counseling and guidance classes & Mr. Matthew Howard, my high school  chemistry teacher. They both talked about life issues and how to address adversity.  They helped to prepare me for job interviews, filling out job applications, and writing thank you letters. The both dressed very professional and taught with such excellence.
 
 
 
3         Do you remember listening to your (Gist/Guest) grandparents or other gist elders talking about their lives? What did they say?
 
Their lives were not easy but they always managed to survive. I recall how they left their homes unlocked and never feared that anyone would come in and steal anything.  How hard they worked but would be at church every Sunday with an offering. Always was willing to share the little they had with others. They encouraged education, always saying each generation should go further. They always talked about family and preparing for special holidays where a little rest was achieved and delicious meals were shared.
They were very creative and always found ways to make whatever they needed to make their work easier. They found a use for everything.  


 
4.       What is the most difficult thing you have ever experienced?
 
The most difficult thing I ever experienced was the death of my parents.  Nothing prepares you for such a great loss.

 
5.       What are you most proud of accomplishing?
 
My proudest accomplishment is being the mother of Dr. Sylvea Lakeshia Hollis.

 
6.       What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?I want people to remember that I loved my family and friends.
 
Family is very important.  We are social beings.  We are emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically healthier when we stay connected to our family. 


 

7.       What has been your favorite vacation spot?
 
Perdido Bay and Virginia.
 
 

 
8.       Can you share a fond memory from a Gist National Family Reunion?

Seeing LaVerene Fenwick, Brenda Wright and Lucille Gist Edwards Wright at the greeting table when we arrived to greet us. Also when everyone put on their tee shirts and I felt so proud to be a part of such an amazing family. 

 
9.       What are your hobbies?

I love reading and decorating.  I decorated for every holiday inside and outside. 
 
 
 
10.  What do you feel most grateful for in your life?
 
  I feel most grateful for my family and friends.
 
 
 
11.  What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in life? 

God is in control.  Forgiveness is as much for you as it is for the person that you forgive.
You will definitely reap what you have sown; be it good or bad.
 
 
12. What do you remember about the first Gist Family reunion in 1972 or your earliest reunion memory?
 
I remember how organized and friendly everyone was and how excited my dad was that his girls were all attending with him.
 


13  Why are our family reunions important to you?
 
The legacy that exists that I can experience and still learn from. I get the opportunity to see family members that I would not ordinarily get to see as well as meet family members that I did not know.  I feel safer when traveling knowing I have family members that I can call on if needed and they know that they can call on us!  It is nothing better that getting a phone call saying I will be in your area and would love to see my family!! Praying that Covid will end soon so that we can joyfully see each other. 
 




-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PROFILE #4- Helen Banks
 
Ten Minutes with Helen
 
   
1.       How did your Gist ancestors influence you in your journey?
 
Taught me how to cook.  All the children of my older relatives use to get together and have a good time. 
 
  
2.       What is the most difficult thing you have ever experienced?
 
Picking cotton but it makes you strong. Working on a farm.
 
 
3.       What are you most proud of accomplishing?
 
Raising her kids and they did well in accomplishing their life goals.
 
 
4.       What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?
 
I always attended each reunion and meeting all my relatives.
 
 
5.       What has been your favorite vacation spot?
 
7 day cruise to the Caribbean
 
 
6.       Can you share a fond memory from a Gist National Family Reunion?
 
When we had the family reunion in Richmond. 
 
 
7.       What are your hobbies?
 
Sewing, Cooking
 
8.  What do you feel most grateful for in your life?
 
Love to go to church and testifying and singing.
 
  
9.  What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in life? 
 
Learn how to sew and make clothing. 
 
 
10. What do you remember about the first Gist Family reunion in 1972?
 
It was at the Park in Union.  The older people cooked some old timer cooking.  We had a good time.
 
 
11. Why are our family reunions important to you?
 
Because we can keep up with relatives that we would never see if there wasn’t a reunion.
 







-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PROFILE #3- Max Gallman
 
Ten Minutes with Max
 
1. How did your Gist ancestors influence you in your journey?
 
My Gist ancestors, did not always understand the importance of thinking forward encouraging my generation to share the history of their past. This was often because of the hardship of segregation and poverty.   That was a motivating factor for me to attempt with other branches of the family to get to know each other. 
 
2. Who have been your strongest (non-family) influences in life? Why?
 
Non-family persons that have had great influence on my life and decisions are Rev. Norman Mitchell(deceased) my first pastor and my last Air Force Commanding Officer General Nathan Hoff.  Family, faith and service have been driving factors for me and those men influenced me in those areas.  My mother (Evelyn Gist Lee) also helped in these areas.
 
3. Do you remember listening to your (Gist) grandparents or other gist elders talking about their lives? What did they say?
 
My Gist Elders mostly talked about the hardships they encountered in life.  Life was difficult for them due to discrimination, lack of opportunities, and resources.   They struggled but family was always important. I learned to appreciate blessings and take advantage every little opportunity as I heard about their struggles.  
 
4. What are you most proud of accomplishing?
 
I am most proud of listening carefully to Aunt Blanche Gist Jennings requesting that I get involved in starting a Gist Reunion and to see the smile on her face when she attended the 2nd Reunion.  She was determined to have a family reunion and she always talked about it.
 
5. What has been your favorite vacation spot?
 
My favorite vacation spot is Edisto Beach, SC.  I went there for years to enjoy the beauty and tranquility.  
 
6. What do you remember about the first Gist Family reunion in 1972?
The 1st Gist Family Reunion was held at Croft State Park, Spartanburg, SC. It was a hot Saturday, but the family gathered in unity.  Family traveled from the northern cities and other areas to be part of the reunion.  It was a good time.
 




----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PROFILE #2 - Vicki Baxter

Vicki is an educator who has dedicated her life to working tirelessly to educate, enlighten, and encourage young people.  She is passionately involved in African American Educators advoctacy groups which actively work to close the achievement gap of minority students.

Ten Minutes with Vicki Baxter:


 
  1. How did your Gist ancestors influence you in your journey?     Who have been your strongest (non-family) influences in life? Why?  Do you remember listening to your (Gist) grandparents or other gist elders talking about their lives? What did they say?
 
I remember traveling to Union, South Carolina every summer as a child. Family has always been important to me.”Train up a child in the way he/she should go”’ and ‘It takes a village” was the essence of how I was raised.  Each family member spoke into my life as they watched me, talked with me and shared their past experiences. My grandparents Willie and Aileen (Gist) Gallman talked about how they lived their life and why. I was taught how to harvest the crops in the garden by my grandparents, aunt Lillie taught me how to make homemade ice cream and I loved sitting on the porch waving at the cars passing by and hearing my grandparents talk about their neighbors. They would tell me their names, where they lived, what they did and talk about their “people” I learned they lived in a very close knit community and survival was based on looking out for each other. A very important lesson.
 

 
  1. What is the most difficult thing you have ever experienced?
The most difficult thing I have experienced is the loss of a loved one. Anytime someone transitions, the loss is devastating. Even though I realize they may be a better place, the silence, not ever seeing them again and never hearing their voice…. The eternal silence is deafening, it’s heartbreaking and leaves a void. 
 

 
  1. What are you most proud of accomplishing?
What I am most proud of was my ability to overcome despite my physical challenges. .After a back injury in 2005 that required 3 spine surgeries between 2012 and 2016, my recovery included being off work for many years, having to use a wheelchair, walker and cane during my rehabilitation. During this time I was trying to complete my advanced certification as an administrator. There was a 7 year gap between the time I completed my course work and the completion of my required internship. A few days before Christmas in 2019, I received confirmation that I had passed the New York State test and had become a certified administrator. Physically I am strong and grateful for a life restored.  
 

 
  1. What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?
If I could be remembered for anything it would be that I never gave up during my recovery. I pushed past the physical and emotional challenges I learned to live life and not just exist. When I learned this I became more of a blessing to others. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned and realized that delays are not denials. God’s love is free and unconditional. Every day is a gift from God. 
 

 
  1. What has been your favorite vacation spot?
My favorite vacation spot is Maui, Hawaii. 
 
  1. Can you share a fond memory from a Gist National Family Reunion?
The theme that runs through the National Gist Family Reunions is family is essential. Family is important. We must make time to stay connected, catch up and support one another.  I have always enjoyed seeing family from years past and catching up. One year my girls and I were part of the fashion show and another year I was on the team with my mom for the “Family Feud” game. Having the opportunity to enjoy family through activities, banquets and picnics has been by far the most memorable and best times I have had with my family.

 
  1. What are your hobbies?
I am a tropical baby. My birthday is in July. I love to swim, workout (run, bike and lift weights) and garden.









-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PROFILE #1 - Michael Gist

Michael has lived a life of service to country, contribution to community, and committment to family.  He has recently launched a new podcast called- The Gist Factor.  The goal of the podcast is to promote unity and present ideas which leads to growth solutions addressing personal and national issues.  He addresses topics such as Freedom, Racism and discrimination in a thought provoking manner.

You can listen to the podcast in Apple podcast, Instagram, Facebook, or by visting his website GistFactor.com.  Let's support Family!   Send him encouragement at comments@gistfactor.com.   

Ten Minutes with Michael Gist:


 
  1. How did your Gist ancestors influence you in your journey?
 
It is everything. The struggles and discrimination my grandparents went through, my mother and aunt went through just for me to get to the point I’m at today. My ancestors have a history of service in the military.

 
  1. Who have been your strongest (non-family) influences in life? Why?
 
My strongest influence of who I am, and what I’ve become and where I’m growing to has been my experiences. Experiences in the US and worldwide through college, the military and business.



 
  1. Do you remember listening to your (Gist) grandparents and/or great-grandparents talking about their lives? What did they say?
My grandparents were humble and focused on the future and not dwelling on the past. They loved their family and did what they could for them at every chance.

 
  1. What is the most difficult thing you have ever experienced?
 
Working in foreign countries and abuse of my Freedom and rights by Government in the military.



 
  1. What are you most proud of accomplishing?
 
Having used what my grandparents, mom, aunt, uncle and friends have taught me to grow into the person that I am today. College graduate, bachelor degree, 2 masters degrees, college athlete, Major in the Marine Corps and travel and experiences from more than 30 countries and 30 US States.



 
  1. What is the one thing you want people to remember about you?
 
That I treated everyone like human beings and I always try to pass on what I’ve learned in a positive way. Though, I don’t want to run for public office because I’m not a politician, I am concerned because of the present times which are calling for real leadership and President Gist or Governor Gist would provide just that.



 
  1. What has been your favorite vacation spot?
 
Maldives, Germany and Japan. Though I’ve never vacationed there I only worked. I also loved Albania 



 
  1. What are your hobbies?
 
Anything on the Water and travel



 
  1. How did you imagine military life before you joined? How did your perceptions change after serving?
 
I imagined it as being disciplined and responsible for opportunities worldwide-if you worked hard at it. My perception match how it was but, what I didn’t imagine is how corrupt, political and lacking of integrity senior leaders are.



 
  1. What do you feel most grateful for in your life?
 
Family, friends, to be alive, to be an American born into Freedom.
 
11. What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
 
Treat everyone as Human Beings, be grateful for family and friends, Learning and growth is constant, continuous and never stops, Authentic Leadership is what people respond to the most - they may not always agree with you, but if you’re authentic they’ll respond in a positive way.