WILMINGTON — Jeryl Wilkins Peebles, 73, of Wilmington, North Carolina, passed away on September 15, 2022, from a sudden heart attack. She was born on July 18, 1949, in Joplin, Missouri to her parents, Herbert I. Wilkins and Gale Dudley Wilkins. Her parents moved to Aiken, SC when she was three. Since she spent her formative years there and still has family in the area, Aiken is her real hometown.
Jeryl knew at an early age she wanted to be a teacher. She enjoyed babysitting for neighbors, teaching piano lessons and volunteering in a summer school program for under-privileged children.
She attended the Univ. of South Carolina at Aiken, SC and later went to the Univ. of South Carolina in Columbia, SC where she received a BA in Elementary Education in 1971. She very much enjoyed her 31-year career as an educator in public education, working at various grade levels. In Wilmington, she taught at Peabody, Gregory, and Carolina Beach schools. Jeryl had high respect and admiration for her principal, Dr. Audrey Albrecht, while at Carolina Beach School. Jeryl always considered teaching a calling, not just a job. Since she did not have children of her own, her students were recipients of her motherly instincts and strong, diligent teaching style. She taught love and compassion by example. Working with kids had plenty of humorous and heart-warming moments and she always considered these experiences part of her paycheck. Jeryl would go out of her way to provide for or protect a child whose needs were not being met by the school system or the home. This meant that on several occasions, she stood up to administrators who could have easily shortened or ended her career, but she always prevailed, to the benefit of the child.
Jeryl was a member of the ADK Sorority – Alpha Psi Chapter for 29 years. She joined the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Wilmington in 1982 and served in various roles.
Jeryl with her husband, Randy L. Peebles in college. They married in 1972 and moved to Wilmington, NC. Just in July, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Randy is a member of the Wilmington Kiwanis Club, whose mission is dedicated to improving the lives of children in the community. As a couple, Jeryl’s profession and her husband’s community service was a combined focus on touching the lives of children. Jeryl and Randy loved the companionship of their pets and held a deep admiration for their three dogs, Pebbles, Lucky, and Murphy, and their cat, Blackie.
Jeryl and Randy traveled frequently in their early careers. They were both active in state and local exchange programs that involved staying with host families abroad or hosting foreign guests in their homes. They participated in international exchanges in Bristol, England; Leuven, Belgium; Vantaa, Finland; and Bern, Switzerland. They hosted guests from England, Belgium, Finland, West Berlin, Germany, and Japan.
She enjoyed staying in touch with friends and colleagues over the years. In retirement, she was a part of various social groups: the BALL group, Carolina Beach School Retirees gatherings, Margarita Girls, Mermaids, and GOTL. To this special group of friends, you know who you are…thanks for all the sharing and caring and fun times together.
Jeryl is preceded in death by her father, Herbert Wilkins, and brother, Jerry D. Wilkins. She is survived by her loving husband, Randy L. Peebles; mother, Gale Dudley Wilkins; sister, Janice Wilkins (Jon); sisters-in-law, Brenda B. Wilkins and Pansy P. Schultze (Danny); nephew, Cody H. Wilkins (Pimolrat); nieces, Paula Wilkins, Meisha Schultze Stinson, and Heather Schultze Cheeks (Tim); a few aunts and uncles, and three grandnieces.
In an increasingly mobile and isolating world, she always appreciated her many, long-time neighbors and friends.
A Celebration of Life service will be announced at a later date (four to six weeks).
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