Obituary for Jean Linley Lyerly

Jean Linley Lyerly, aged 97 years, 9 months and 26 days, passed away peacefully on May 26, 2024, having lived the past 14 years at Penick Village in Southern Pines.

Preceding her in death was her son, Peter Andrew Lyerly; and daughter, Judith Lyerly Jensen.

She is survived by sons; Larry Lyerly, of San Diego, CA, Alan Lyerly, of Greensboro, NC and Jonathan Lyerly, of Grass Valley, CA; as well as seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Jean was born on Aug. 1, 1926, in Fairfield, Connecticut, to parents Alfred and Matilda Linley. She was an exceptional student and participated in acting and singing.

She was married June 14, 1947, to her husband Lawrence Lyerly, shortly after his return from service in the Pacific theater during World War II. Following a move to Burlington, Vermont, and the birth of their first child, the family moved to Pinehurst, in February 1949.The family grew with the birth of sons, Alan and Jonathan, and daughter, Judith. Jean was a devoted Mother, and loved her kids above all else.

Once Jean had raised her kids, she had time to begin another phase of her life. She attended college at St. Andrews and completed her degree. She then became an enrollment recruiter, traveling up and down the east coast meeting families and potential students, a job that she thoroughly enjoyed.

Jean had a great love of adventure, and was always ready for new experiences and meeting new people. Over the years she travelled to Fiji, walked the coast-to-coast trail across England, as well as other hiking adventures, all of which she relished. She also participated in the Senior Olympics games, winning many medals.

At age 65, she embarked on her greatest adventure and challenge – hiking the Appalachian Trail.  The grit and determination required of her embodies the qualities that she exhibited her whole life – perseverance mixed with wonder and joy. She remained a lifelong active member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and maintained many friendships from the trail days.

Hosteling had become a natural part of Jean’s adventures, and in the mid 80’s, when hosteling was gaining a foothold in North Carolina; Jean served as president of the Coastal Carolina Council of the American Youth Hostels, promoting the value of hosteling across the state.

A celebration of Jean’s life will be held at Penick Village in Southern Pines on July 20, at 2 p.m., with a memorial service in the chapel followed by a reception. Friends and acquaintances are all welcome. Contact Jonathan Lyerly for details at [email protected].

If you would like to make a donation in Jean’s honor, she requested donations be made to, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, P.O. Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425-9988.

Jean is remembered for her zest for life, her intellect and her independent spirit. We look forward to celebrating her life with you.

Services entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines.  

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