Jerrlyn Neeley Gaghum
Funeral services for Jerrlyn Neeley Gaghum, 82, were held Feb. 8 in Rosehill Cemetery with the Rev. Dr. J. Coakley officiating.
On Feb. 1, our beloved Mrs. Gaghum transitioned to enter her heavenly home after a valiant battle with an extended illness. Jerrlyn was well known as a devoted educator, an advocate for her students and community, and most importantly, as a devoted Christian woman, always willing to help others and let them see Christ in her.
Born Aug. 14, 1938, in Augusta, Ga., she was the daughter of the late Natalie Neeley. The bond between Jerrlyn and her mother was strong and very special, and could be witnessed by anyone who saw them together or heard her speak of her mother.
Under her mother’s guidance and rearing, she began her spiritual life at Faithful Baptist Church, in Augusta, Ga. This would lay the foundation for her unwavering commitment to God and church.
With a strong faith in the Lord, and the love and support of her family, Jerrlyn graduated from Lucy C. Laney High School in Augusta, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Allen University in Columbia.
That accomplishment led her to relocate to Conway in 1964, when she took a teaching position at Whittemore High School. After the integration of schools in Conway, Jerrlyn moved to Conway High School in 1970. Soon after that, she earned a master’s degree in school counseling and continued to serve Conway High School as a school counselor until her retirement in 2013.
She was committed to the field of education and served in her calling for as long as she could. Jerrlyn took great pride in the fact that she served the students of Horry County Schools for 49 years. Even after her retirement, she remained active in education by supporting the efforts of her beloved Whittemore Alumni Association, working hard to keep the memory of Whittemore High School alive and to provide scholarship opportunities to generations of students descended from Whittemore graduates.
Jerrlyn was also a faithful and committed member of the Cherry Hill, Missionary Baptist Church. During the tenure of her membership at Cherry Hill, Jerrlyn served her church in various roles, including working with the Church School Ministry, the Tribal Ministry, the Education Ministry, the Fellowship Choir, the New Members Ministry, and a number of other committees and organizations. Jerrlyn’s presence and talents will be sorely missed by her church family.
In spite of the many lives she touched outside of her home, Jerrlyn will be missed most by her family. She leaves to cherish her memory a loving and devoted husband, William “Bill” Gaghum; one stepson, William Gaghum Jr., and one stepdaughter, Tonya Bellamy; a very special niece, Gayle Neeley; five sisters-in-law, Carolyn Williams, Elouise Williams, Stephanie Williams, Vernell Williams and Paula Gaghum; and a host of other relatives and family friends.
In addition to her mourning family, Jerrlyn Gaghum will also be greatly missed by the hundreds of students, parents and co-workers whose lives she touched through her work in the schools and in the community. To Jerrlyn, they too were like her family.
Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.”
Jerrlyn Gaghum was blessed with much, and she used her life and her talents to fulfill the biblical requirement of giving back to her community and making a difference in the lives of others. She could always be quoted as saying “may the work I’ve done, speak for me.”
While Jerrlyn’s vast community of friends and loved ones will truly miss her care and love for others, we know that her absence to us, is God’s reward for her faithfulness.