OXFORD — Jean Yeargin Gill passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. She was born Sept. 20, 1932, to Wilbur Wright Yeargin Sr. and Elsie Virginia Mangum Yeargin in Granville County.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Thomas Woody Gill Sr., and her granddaughter, Jenna Leah Johnston.
Jean graduated from Oxford High School in 1951. She was a graduate of East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina, with a master’s of education in 1975.
She taught school and served as an educator in Granville County for 35 years. She was owner of Oxford Preschool, going on to teach in the elementary classrooms of Granville County School System, also serving as elementary/secondary education coordinator and guidance counselor for Granville County Schools. She retired from Granville County School System on March 10, 1998.
She was a member and contributor to many professional organizations. She was a lifetime member of the American Association of University Women, N.C. Classroom Teachers Association, N.C. Association of Educators, Delta Kappa Gamma/Beta Pi Chapter Educational Sorority, International Reading Association of N.C. and the N.C. Association of Guidance Counselors.
Jean believed in hard work and giving back to the community: “I have always looked forward to going to work and the days were just not long enough to accomplish all that needed to be done.”
Jean was a member and contributor to many community organizations, which included serving as a director of the Granville County Library System, devoting time to the Granville County Citizens Land Use Task Force and serving as a member of the Granville Arts Council. She also served as second vice president of the Granville County Historical Society and Museum, to which she was a donor and contributor for many years due to her strong belief in Granville County. Jean was also a longtime Rotary International member and was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International.
She was a charter member of the Pickwick Papers Literary Club, formed in 1967, when she presented the club’s first program titled “Women in the World Today.”
Jean grew up attending Salem Methodist Church and continued to visit and support that church throughout her life. In later years Jean and her family were members of Oxford United Methodist Church before transferring membership to Stovall Methodist Church in 1977, where she was a Sunday School teacher and treasurer of the Board of Trustees for over 30 years. Rev John Yount and Jean Gill were pillars of that church and instrumental in the growth and progress of that organization.
In her retirement, Jean remained very active. She volunteered as a reading teacher at C.G. Credle, loved to play bridge and loved her bridge club. She also continued as owner and proprietor of Yeargin Insurance Agency for many years.
As a wife and daughter of farmers, Jean loved seeing her baby calves each spring and thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship of the Granville County Cattlemen’s Association.
She treasured her family and embraced every moment with them. She loved her role as “Mama Jean” and considered that her greatest accomplishment in life. She was a dedicated mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She enjoyed attending family events, including grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s milestones and many annual family reunions. Jean loved traveling with friends and family but was always glad and happy to return to her home in Granville County.
Her loving family was truly blessed by her life lessons, external grace, internal strength and spiritual example. She always conveyed a positive attitude, along with family tradition, often quoting, “Life is what you make it, always has been,always will be.”
Jean Yeargin Gill is survived by and will be lovingly remembered by her son, Thomas Woody Gill Jr. (Zana); daughter, Carolyn Gill Colcleasure (Ronny); grandchildren, Jeana Keeton Currin (Matthew) and Jacey Gill Wood (Gabe); great-grandchildren, Jackie Keith, Jamie Vassar, Emerson Currin, Owen Wood, Lainey Currin, Mazie “Pearl” Wood and Seth Currin. She is also survived by her brother, Wilbur Wright Yeargin Jr., and sister Joice Yeargin Carr, as well as many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to extend special gratitude to all her neighborhood friends and her recent caregivers, Stephanie Timberlake and Carrie Taylor.
A memorial service to celebrate Jean’s life will be Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at 2 p.m. at Gentry, Newell and Vaughan Funeral Home with family receiving visitors beginning at 1 p.m. The family requests that all attendees wear appropriate face coverings and adhere to the safe practice of social distancing.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Jean’s memory to the Granville County Library, Granville County Historical Society/Museum or Salem United Methodist Church.