Sylvia Rogers Jolly, 87, of Statesville, N.C., passed away after an extended illness on Saturday, September 2, 2023, at the home of her daughter in Mars Hill, N.C.
She grew up in Greenville, N.C., where she attended Greenville City Schools and East Carolina College. She moved to Statesville in 1960 to work as an assistant dietician at Iredell Memorial Hospital. She met the love of her life, Preston, and married him in 1962. After being a stay-at-home mom for a few years, she saw a need in the community and developed a kindergarten/preschool program at First Baptist Church of Statesville and became the founding teacher and director of the program.
Early childhood education was her passion and life’s work. For over 30 years, she advocated for young children and led the county in developing standards and curriculum to empower young lives and to prepare them for school. Upon her retirement, she was honored by being named Founding Director of First Baptist Church Preschool and Director Emerita. She was an active, 60-year member of First Baptist Church, where she not only worked, but taught Sunday school, and sang in the choir for 55 years.
Sylvia was preceded in death by her husband, Preston Jolly; and by her parents, R.P. and Eunice Rogers.
She is survived by her daughter, Susan Ball (Dean) of Mars Hill, N.C.; stepsons, Gary Jolly of Troutman, N.C., and John Jolly (Joyce) of Roswell, Ga. She is also survived by her brothers, Perry Rogers (Pat) of Greenville, N.C., and Steve Rogers (Annamarie) of Greensboro, N.C.; grandchildren, Amy Piper (Brian) of Wake Forest, N.C., Ethan Ball of Mars Hill, N.C.; step-grandchildren, Jennifer Koval and Janel Culhane (Steve) of Marietta, Ga., and John P. Jolly of Snow Camp, N.C. She was able to meet her great-grandson, Henry Piper, and her five step-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 10, 2023, from 12:30 until 1:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Statesville. The memorial service will begin at 1:30 p.m. with Dr. Nelson Granade officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation in her memory be made to the First Baptist Church Music Ministry, 815 Davie Avenue, Statesville, NC 28677 or to Compassionate Care of Western NC, 856 Georges Fork Road, Burnsville, NC 28714.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.bunchjohnsonfuneralhome.com for the Jolly family.
Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home is serving the family.