A beloved figure gone too soon was remembered Friday, as a bench in memory of the late Dr. Betty Jo Hall was unveiled in front of Cherokee Trail Elementary School.
Dr. Hall served a number of years as Abbeville County School District Superintendent before her life was cut short in a motor vehicle accident last year.
During her years, she touched many lives with the warmth of her spirit.
On Friday, Cherokee Trail Elementary School Principal Cy Clendaniel welcomed a group that included Interim Superintendent Dr. Mason Gary, Betty Jo's husband Wally, school board trustees Keith Dunn and Brad Evans and additional family and friends of Betty Jo.
Before the unveiling of the bench, which is beside the school entrance which Clendaniel said is a project of the school and the Cherokee Trail Elementary PTO, those in attendance shared their memories of Betty Jo, whose name is inscribed on the bench.
Clendaniel, who is entering his third year as Cherokee Trail Principal, recalled how Betty Jo had come to visit him and his family right after they had moved up from coastal South Carolina.
"We found an old home in Due West," said Clendaniel.
To their new home, Betty Jo paid a visit, with an enormous cooler replete with tea, fruit, vegetables, sandwiches and other good things.
It was indeed a welcome to the community that Clendaniel and his family did not forget.
Betty Jo passed away in August of last year, and Clendaniel was made aware of the impact which her life had had on so many people.
Betty Jo's sister Fredda Gilmer recalled how little children enjoyed being with Betty Jo.
"I love you, Mrs. Hall," they would say.
"It was her calling to be a person of love," said Fredda, emphasizing her devotion to the little ones.
Her brother, Butch Moore, also recalled her life, and trustee Brad Evans said, "We miss her every day. She was a shining light for children."
Dr. Gary said he had known Betty Jo's family, and their ties to the Honea Path community.
"She was a Honea Pathian," said the Superintendent.
"Wally, we love you," he said, turning to Betty Jo's husband, who was seated nearby.
Abbeville County Director of Student Services Dr. Skip Hopkins said she served as a mentor to him, and that not a day goes by that he does not think of her.
"She loved her job," said Wally. "She loved life."