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Reflections on Jerry Alexander
by Karen Brewer, Publisher
posted Saturday, November 10, 2018



Prayers for the family of Jerry Alexander, whose life was remembered and celebrated in this afternoon’s memorial service at Seneca Baptist Church. 

Jerry owned The Pickens Sentinel when I was hired as Editor in July of 1999. It’s hard to believe he’s gone. Today, November 10, is also the 16th anniversary of the passing of Don Hunt, The Sentinel’s General Manager at the time I was hired. I thought very highly of both of them. Our staff was close-knit and like a family. I wouldn’t mind if someone were to invent a time machine, so that we could go back to the time before Jerry sold the newspaper.

Jerry wrote a column in The Sentinel entitled “Well, I’ll Declare.” He inspired me to write a column, as well. I named mine “Reflections” and began it in November of 1999. Our columns were on page 2A in each issue of the newspaper, his on the top left, and mine on the top right. The column gave me an opportunity to write something personal in the newspaper (in addition to the news stories and feature stories).

I didn’t know it at the time I went to work for The Sentinel, but I found out that Jerry and I were distant cousins, on my maternal grandmother’s side, that, in going back several generations, we had the same Alexander ancestors. Jerry wrote an extensive book on the Alexander genealogy.

Jerry had a love for, and wrote several books on, history and genealogy, and he was also so talented at drawing. He was a wealth of knowledge in many areas.  Several of Jerry's articles and drawings were on display today. During the service, his Pastor said that Jerry's writings and drawings would be preserved for future generations, and his Pastor emphasized the importance of writing, of writing things down, of recording history.

In March of 2017, Jerry spoke to the Old Pendleton District Genealogical Society about the history of the Cherokee in our area. My mother, as Vice President, had needed to line up speakers for their meetings, and I had suggested Jerry. I'm so glad that she asked him, and that he accepted, and that I attended the meeting and had the opportunity to hear him speak.  

I'm glad I kept in touch with him in recent years. I made the decision to leave The Sentinel after Jerry sold it, and after Don passed away, because I wanted to publish a Christian publication. I've been publishing this publication ever since, right here in Pickens County. He partly, and indirectly, influenced that decision, because I thought that, if Jerry, as one person, could own a newspaper, it could be possible that I could, too.

I am so grateful for Jerry's encouragement in my writing, not only while I was at The Sentinel, but also after I left.

And I'm glad that Jerry's daughter told me how much Jerry loved all of his Sentinel staff.

I treasure having known him, and I’ll treasure copies of his books he signed and gave me, and I’ll always treasure his encouraging words. 

I also am thankful for the promise that he is in heaven, as he was a Christian. As his Pastor said today, when Jerry took his last breath here, he entered God’s presence.

I’m glad that in heaven there will be no cancer.

He is now with his beloved wife of more than half a century, Margaret, who passed away in 2015. He was so devoted to her and took great care of her during her illness.

Prayers for Jerry’s son and daughter and their families. His daughter did a great job sharing about him in this afternoon’s service. I know that all of his family will miss him and will always have fond memories of him. I’m glad that one day they will be reunited.