Longtime resident and considered by many the matriarch of Havelock, "Miss Eva" Frances (Gladden) Sermons, 86, passed away Wednesday, August 12th, at her home, surrounded by loved ones.
Born in Whitmire, SC on June 24th, 1929 to Alva and Evelyn (Walters) Gladden, Eva grew up in Rock Hill and Spartanburg, SC. She graduated from Union High School, in 1948 and worked as a secretary for Clayton Carpet Company of Spartanburg, SC.
Eva married Henry P. Sermons, Sr in 1955 and moved to Havelock in 1959. She began work for MCAS Cherry Point in 1960, retiring from federal civil service as a Systems Analyst in the Fiscal Department in 1990 after 30 1/2 years of service. She was a member of the First Baptist Church in Havelock, NC since 1959.
Miss Eva was a caring and compassionate person and always put the needs of others before her own. She listened to people, never left anyone out and had a passion for serving her community. She was well-known and respected by all.
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Eva enjoyed many community and civic interests which spanned over 40 years of dedicated service to the citizens and community of the City of Havelock and surrounding areas. Her service to the community was motivated by a genuine love for Havelock and its people. Eva had many first, as a volunteer and a leader. She became the first woman computer programmer in the Fiscal Directorate, primarily held by men. She was instrumental in getting girls softball included in Havelock Little League. She was the first woman to hold the position of President for the Havelock Little League Baseball. She was the first woman to become a member of the Havelock Fire and Rescue Squad, which opened the door for other women to follow. She served as a volunteer and a leader for Babe Ruth Baseball. She served as a volunteer for cheerleading and basketball programs at the Havelock Recreation Center. She served as the president of the Havelock Elementary School PTA. She was primarily responsible for forming the Girls Softball Team at the Havelock High School. She was the chief fund raiser for the Havelock Medical Clinic and worked to bring Britthaven nursing home to Havelock.
Eva was a City Commissioner for Havelock, serving a combined 29 years, the longest serving Commissioner in the City of Havelock.
Because of her untiring and unwavering commitment to the City of Havelock and its citizens, she has been awarded many accolades to include: the Business and Professional Woman's Club of Havelock Woman of the Year Award, the Federal Woman of the Year Award at Cherry Point and North Carolina’s highest civilian award – The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. She also received recognition for her outstanding civic contributions in the Harlowe Community in which she started a clothing bank for those in need.
Eva was active in several City of Havelock boards, to include: the Recreation Advisory Board, the Appearance Commission, and the Comprehensive Transportation and Land Use Plan Committee. She was on the Board of Directors for the Havelock-Craven County Public Library, Cherry Point Federal Credit Union Board of Trustees; as well as Coordinator and Branch Director for the American Cancer Society in Havelock.
Eva was preceded in death by her parents, Alva M. and Evelyn Gladden, Sr.; her sister, Nancy Elizabeth (Betty) Marshall; and her brother, Alva M. (Sonny) Gladden, Jr.
Eva is survived by her spouse, Henry, of Havelock, NC; her sons Col. Hank Sermons, Jr., USAF (Ret) of Waldorf, MD and Les (Dawn) Sermons II of Killeen, TX; her daughters Cindy (Billy) Griffin of Polocksville, NC; Connie (David) West of Wilmington, NC; Ginny (Alexis) Cardelli of Vanceboro, NC; and MAJ Nancy (Diane Kilby) Sermons, USA (Ret) of Victoria, BC (Canada); her sisters Theresa Dawkins of Gulf Breeze, FL and Marilou Allen of Rock Hill, SC; her 16 grandchildren Meredith (Scott) Gill, Matthew (Elise) MacIntosh, Amy (Chris) Chadwick, PJ (Nick) Edwards, Megan (Curtis) Jones, Olivia VanLanen, Sarah (Damien) Arzamendi, Kelsey Sermons, Darcy West, Shelby Sermons, CPL Les Sermons III, USA, Julie Griffin, Catherine West, Jessica Sermons, Hannah Sermons , Rebecca Griffin; her 12 great-grandchildren Mckenzie Jones, Zoey MacIntosh, Collin Jones, Natalie Cluck, Nathan Arzamendi, Regan Arzamendi, Henry MacIntosh, Sydney Jones, Tyson Gill, Jackson Gill, Allie Edwards, Connor Chadwick, her nieces, nephews, other relatives and longtime caregiver Brenda Farlee.
Visitation will be held at Pollock-Best Funeral Home, 2015 Neuse Boulevard, New Bern, NC from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, Aug 14, 2015. The family will be greeting friends and relatives at this time. Services will be held at First Baptist Church, 111 Hollywood Blvd, Havelock, NC at 1 pm, Aug 15, 2015. Burial will follow at Gethsemane Memorial Park, Morehead City, NC.
The family requests memorial donations be made to The First Baptist Church Building Fund (Steps), 111 Hollywood Blvd, Havelock, NC 28532 or a charity of one's choice. Condolences may be left on Eva G. Sermons' online guest book at www.pollockbest.com
Arrangements by Pollock-Best Funerals & Cremations