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Community Mourns Passing of Local Educator

By Eugenia Jones

Longtime McCreary County educator, Nelda Gilreath, passed away earlier this week following a brief illness. The news of Gilreath’s passing came as a shock to the community as her passing occurred just a few hours after Tuesday’s announcement of her re-election to the McCreary County School Board as the School Board Member for District 1.
Nelda was well-known throughout the community. During her years as a first grade teacher, Nelda forever touched many lives by teaching her students to read. She was very active in the schools and always enjoyed participating in Christmas programs as Mrs. Claus. Her passing leaves many to mourn and reflect back on her life.
“Loyal, kind, a loving teacher-all things that come to mind when I think of Nelda,” long-time friend Becky Blevins said. “She was more than a co-worker and friend. We became family. Nelda took me under her wing when I started teaching and helped guide me-molding me into the teacher I am today. Her love for children and their education was evident in all she did. Nelda dedicated her life to making sure the children in McCreary County received the education they deserved. She could always bring a smile to your face and will be greatly missed by all who had the honor of knowing her. I feel truly blessed to have known her.”

McCreary County School Superintendent Corey Keith also reflected on his time spent working with Mrs. Gilreath.
“We are deeply saddened by Nelda’s passing,” Keith said. “For her entire life, she was dedicated to educating the children of McCreary County. She spent 33 years as a teacher and another 12 years as a school board member. During the time that I worked with her, she was a strong advocate for our students and staff. She will be greatly missed.”
Throughout her life, Nelda was a loving family member, devoted church member, and tireless advocate of education. She was hired by the McCreary County Board of Education in 1964 and worked there as a teacher until her retirement in 1997. Nelda was later elected as a school board member in 2008. She proceeded to be re-elected for multiple terms and served for a total of twelve years from January 2009 until the present. She was Board Vice-Chairperson in 2013 and Board Chairperson in 2014.

Nelda Gilreath is survived by her husband, Vernon of Pine Knot, her children, grandchildren, and numerous other family members and friends.

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