Sarah Jeanette Sloan Fearrington, 88, of Chapel Hill, died peacefully Friday evening, November 22, 2019.
Born in Hillsborough, Sarah Jeanette — Jeanette or “Net” to all who knew her — was the youngest of six children of Annie Mae Richmond Sloan and William Turner Sloan. Her father was the Orange County Sheriff and then Chapel Hill Chief of Police, she remembered telling visitors looking for him that “he was out sheriffing.” (She also claimed to have introduced herself as “Celery” until her parents corrected her and explained it was “Sarah Jeanette.”)
As a young child, her family moved to Chapel Hill, and Jeanette grew up on the corner of Columbia and Rosemary Streets where she would run up and down the town’s then-dirt roads with her siblings. Jeanette and her sister Dot spent a week each summer with their grandparents in Efland, riding tobacco sticks and standing in the deepest ditches of mud they could find — because, to them, their muddy legs made it look like they were wearing hose.
The zest and humor of Jeanette’s childhood continued throughout her life. So did many of her friends: She met Jigger when they were in the third grade, and the two women remained the closest of friends until Jeanette’s final day.
Jeanette was a true social butterfly, a delightful storyteller, a joyful host, and a steadfast friend. She participated in any meal that involved a group, from church fellowship to “lunch with the girls” to University Woman’s Club luncheons. She was well-versed on current affairs and UNC sports, and rarely arrived at any occasion without lipstick or cheerfulness.
Her “proud day” was graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1952. Jeanette majored in Sociology because, as she said, she liked to be social. Sure enough, before going to school, she spent many hours in the Recreation Center beside University Methodist Church. (She was a formidable Ping-Pong player and right good dancer.) She met Frank Wynne Fearrington there when she was 15; he was the love of her life and they married soon after her college graduation. In addition to raising their two children, Steve and Jan, Jeanette worked as the executive director of the Orange County unit of The American Cancer Society for 25 years.
A “happy and busy experience” is how Jeanette described her childhood, and she and Frank kept up the same pace for most of their 65-year life together. The Fearringtons were beloved for their spunk, grace, and laughter — the door to their house on Franklin Street was always open, ready to offer a warm welcome to any visitor.
Jeanette is survived by her children, Steve Fearrington and Jeanette Fearrington Ammons; and five grandchildren, Taylor Fearrington, Jessie Ammons Rumbley, Jason Fearrington, Drew Ammons, and Max Ammons, and one greatgrandchild, Waylon Fearrington. They all miss her terribly, but are comforted knowing how over-the-moon Jeanette and Frank must feel to be together again.
A memorial service will be held at 11 AM.Monday, December 2 at University Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, where she and Frank were married and remained devoted members. Jeanette’s family and friends will receive visitors in the church’s Great Hall following the service. Donations in memoriam may be made to: University Baptist Church, The American Cancer Society, The Charles House or Transitions Life Care.
Walker’s Funeral Home of Chapel Hill is assisting the family.
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