Willie Jewel Sherrod was born in Thomas County, GA on December 11, 1929 to Evie (née Willis) and Frank Sherrod, both of whom were descended from pioneer Thomas County farm families. She attended grammar school first in Pavo and, later, Coolidge. In 1947, she graduated from high school at Coolidge as valedictorian. Upon graduation, Jewel worked for Southern Bell as an operator, where she met her first husband, Clyde Albert Griffin, Jr., who also worked there. They were married in March, 1951. They moved in 1955 from Thomasville out into the county to a farm near Merrillville which they had purchased. Both lived there for the rest of their lives, raising two sons along the way. In 1971, Jewel decided to go to college at the age of 41 and received a B.S. degree in nursing from Abraham Baldwin College. She went to work initially at Archbold Hospital in Thomasville, but after a few years joined the staff of the Thomas County Health Department where she worked for many years. Always precocious, always curious about medicine, and in search of new opportunities in the healthcare industry, Jewel returned to college within the university system of Georgia and pursued advanced courses of study, eventually becoming a registered nurse while still with the Health Department, and delivering many babies and making many grateful friends along the way. But she had even bigger plans and carried out far more sophisticated medical studies at Emory University in Atlanta, and other campuses, finally earning a degree as a nurse practitioner, the first female to achieve this distinction in Thomasville. As with all her earlier academic ambitions, she scored at the top of all her classes. She was soon offered a partnership with doctors Arnett and Thompson in Thomasville, where she was a very popular and highly sought after women's health physician, her name on the building alongside theirs. Jewel retired permanently in 1994. As a retiree, she spent the remainder of her life with Clyde, gardening, painting, traveling, and visiting friends and family in the area. They were very fond of their camper and could be found over the years just about anywhere within the boundaries of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida parked and enjoying the good times with other like-minded campers. They made several trips to Europe, as well as Alaska, Canada and even the South Pacific. After the death of Clyde, in October, 2003, Jewel remained at home on the family farm with one of her sons, Kelly, busying herself with gardening. Four years later, on November 3, 2007, Jewel married Gene Tucker of Brooks County. Splitting time between his farm and hers, they lived contentedly and were devoted to one another. They remained happily married for over three years, until Gene passed away in February, 2011. Jewel returned to her farm in Thomas County and remained there until her final illness. She passed away on December 31st at Legacy Village nursing facility in Thomasville after a lengthy illness, and was buried at Sunset Memorial Cemetery in a brief ceremony attended by a small family gathering. Jewel was 88 years old. Survivors, all of whom reside within Thomas County, include two children: Robert Charlton Griffin, 65, and Kelly Clyde Griffin, 56; and four siblings: Carolyn Vonier, Lucille Carson, Faye Stewart, and Dwight Sherrod.
Requiesce in pace.
Published on January 3, 2018