Jerilyn Little Garner
An independent woman of courage, strength, and faith in God in the midst of life’s trials, Jerilyn Little Garner passed away from this life into her eternal heavenly home May 11, 2021. She was preceded in death by her grandparents J.O and Maude Ella Cope of Newport, Tenn. and Rankin and Beatrice Little, Sr. of Maryville, Tenn. and Cookeville, Tenn.
Jerilyn was born September 30, 1959 to Rankin and Beverly Little, Jr. in Fort Meade Maryland. After moving to Manchester, Tenn., she became active in school and community clubs and organizations and First Baptist Church youth activities. She attended Manchester City Schools where she excelled in gymnastics, the band and choral programs, as well as being a majorette. Serving as a Girl Scout for many years, Jerilyn earned her First Class Award and also enjoyed attending Girl Scout summer camps where after high school she served as a camp counselor, lifeguard and swim instructor.
Jerilyn graduated from Coffee County Central High School with the Class of 1977 whom she loved dearly. Many of her favorite memories are of times and adventures spent with her classmates. Afterward, she attended the University of Charleston where she obtained her Psychology degree.
During her professional career Jerilyn was employed with Draughon’s Jr. College before becoming a financial researcher for a national investment firm. Later on, she expanded her love for writing and wrote articles for both local and national publications. Jerilyn also served locally as a media marketing consultant before finishing her career as an executive assistant for Atchley Enterprises in East Tennessee. In recent years, Jerilyn enjoyed teaching English online to young Chinese students.
While Jerilyn’s children were involved in Scouting she volunteered much of her time helping lead their Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troop’s activities. She often said that some of the highlights of her life were the many camping trips her family took with the Boy Scouts in the Smoky Mountains. She was also very proud that her son, Michael, earned his Eagle Scout Award and that both Michael and Crislyn shared the same love for Scout camps that she enjoyed as a youth.
Researching genealogy was a favorite hobby that Jerilyn shared with family members known and newly introduced to her as she searched her family tree. With the help of the internet, Jerilyn was able to follow her family tree many generations. While in heaven, she will surely love hearing her ancestor’s stories first hand and putting faces to the names she has discovered over the years.
As much as Jerilyn loved drawing, writing, reading, hiking and genealogy, her passion was truly for her family, both near and far. She adored her children and grandchildren and loved them so very much and was very proud of each of them. She loved family trips and reunions and made a point to stay close with her loved ones throughout the year. And most of all, Jerilyn loved Jesus and she had great peace knowing that she is spending eternity in heaven with Him. And throughout her courageous battle against the cancer, Jerilyn had great comfort knowing that her daughter Crislyn and her husband Amon were by her side, helping her meet every need possible, every step of the way through this long journey.
Jerilyn is survived by her parents Rankin and Beverly Little, Jr.; her husband Greg Garner; her sisters Rebekah (husband David) Hurst and Cindy (husband Georges) Brandan; and brother-in-law Mike (wife Carol). She is also survived by her beloved children and grandchildren, Michael (fiancé Suntanna Sims) and son, Reeves Patrick Samuel Garner; and Crislyn Garner Neff (husband Amon) and children Amon Brayden Neff, Asher Stokely Neff, Alexander Brady Neff and Gracelyn Ella Neff.
A private family graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 22, 2021 at Tompkins Cemetery in Byrdstown, Tenn. Memorial Donations may be made to the Great Smoky Mountains Association, www.smokiesinformation.org/make-a-donation.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jerilyn (Little) Garner, please visit our floral store.