Death is a joyful message whose kind hand opens for the weary pilgrim the gate of immortality and lets the oppressed go free. Death is not a tragedy for those who have faith, for they are simply passing from a world filled with struggles, sin, and disappointments to a finer, much better place where Peace, Love, and Joy abides . . . .
A life of greatness is measured by the services rendered to one’s fellowman. This was the guiding force behind the exemplary and Blessed life of Jacquelyn Pecola Graham. Born the first child of Willie and Mary Ellen Bostick Graham, Jacqui passed through the vale called “death” into eternal life on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lord Blessed her and granted her wish to “Go Home”. We thank God for allowing her to be with us for 63 years, and for the many lives she touched and the children she loved and inspired excel and accomplish more than they ever imagined possible.
Jacqui was born in Florence County, South Carolina, but spent her formative years in New Britain, Connecticut attending Benjamin Franklin Elementary School and Slade Junior High School. The family transitioned back to South Carolina and Jacqui spent 3 years of High School at Hannah-Pamplico High. After High School, Jacqui attended Kings College in Charlotte, NC and Florence-Darlington Technical College.
Jacqui began her life of service by enlisting in the United States Army. Jacqui spent 14 years serving her country and traveling the world. Jacqui had tours of duty in Italy, Germany and Korea; allowing her to travel all over Europe. She completed her career serving as the Assistant to the Chief of the Joint Chief’s of Staff at the United States Pentagon. Still, her passion was not fulfilled. Her heart’s desire was to sing and work with youth. She returned home, attended Francis Marion College obtaining a BS degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Education in Instructional Accommodation. She completed further studies at Walden University, and obtained a Master of Science in Literacy and became a Doctorial Candidate at Walden University.
Jacqui reconnected with her childhood church, Mt. Zion Chapel Baptist Church and devoted her time to singing on the choir and working with the youth of the church. She was a stern disciplinarian and a devoted teacher who gained the love and respect of every child she encountered. Jacqui knew that children thrive in an environment of love and discipline. The children knew that her love and caring were sincere, and craved her guidance. Though she never gave birth, Jacqui mothered countless children. Even after becoming ill, Jacqui’s concern was for her children. Her greatest joy during her illness was reading and hearing the well wishes and inspirations sent to her by her “children” and the staff of Florence County School District 2. Jacqui was a proud veteran and an even prouder teacher. She would have you to know, in her words: “I’m Blessed”.
Jacqui was preceded in death by her parents, her maternal grandparents: Alvin and Elizabeth Bostick, paternal grandparents: Isadore and Mabel Graham, paternal aunt: Evelyn Campbell, paternal uncles: Charles, John Robert and Harry Lee Graham; nephew Travis D. Graham; and God-children Nicole Woodberry and Sharonda Hyman.
Jacqui leaves to cherish her memories of life and legacy of love: a brother, William D. Graham, two sisters: Rosalyn R. Graham and Jeanmarie Graham (Curtis Bethea), a cousin raised as a sister, Linda G. Bostic, an aunt, who helped to nurture and raise her, Dorothy W. Bostic, 5 nephews: J. Lamont Graham, Craig Crinchlow, Cedrick D. Timmons, Curtrick (CJ) Bethea, and Brandon Brown; a niece, Cierra K.Graham, great-nephew: JeRon Fleming, and Two great-nieces, Ariyanna Graham and Bre’Asia Brown; Adopted daughter Shirlee P. Fleming; God children: Jocelyn Fleming, Tya Campbell, Delisha McWhite, and Bowanna Pharr; devoted friends: Ruth Fleming, Rose Kennedy and Marsha Pharr; Florence School District 2 Faculty and Staff, other relatives and friends.