LTC Sherry Eugene Awtrey

LTC Sherry Eugene Awtrey, US Army (Ret.), 86, of Columbia, passed away peacefully on March 19, 2019, after a long and valiant battle with Parkinson’s Disease, cancer and heart disease.

Funeral services for LTC Awtrey will be held 2 o’clock, Sunday, March 24th, at North Trenholm Baptist Church, with The Rev. David Knapp and The Rev. Joe Copeland officiating. Interment with full military honors will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 6 until 8 o’clock, Saturday, at Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, 7600 Trenholm Road Ext., Columbia.

Gene was born April 20, 1932 in Griffin, GA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ebert and Lydia Awtrey; also, both brothers, Sherman E. Awtrey of Griffin, GA, and Major Samuel J. Awtrey of Columbus, GA.

Gene was raised in Manchester, GA. He was a graduate of Manchester High School and an All-State Athlete. He was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Georgia, but due to an injury in his second year, he transferred to Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, where he played quarterback.

He earned a B.A. degree in Economics from Wofford in 1954 and upon graduation was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. His military education included the Command and General Staff College, where he served on the faculty after graduation; Department of Defense Language School Institute (Spanish); and the completion of many additional courses during his career.

He served his country honorably for 20 years, in many posts throughout the US and abroad. He was a Vietnam veteran, a member of the US Special Forces (Green Beret), and as a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division.

LTC Awtrey earned the National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal and the Armed Forces Expeditor Medal (Korea).

He retired from Active duty in 1974. He and his wife moved to Savannah, GA, where he served as Senior Military Advisor/Instructor at Benedictine Military Academy. While there, as baseball coach, the Benedictine Cadets were 3AAA Regional Champions. During this time, he completed his MBA from the University of Georgia. Upon his return to Columbia in 1977, he became Senior Military Advisor/Instructor to Chester High School (JROTC), in Chester, SC. Later, in 1980, he became Military Advisor/Instructor at Lower Richland High School (JROTC) (Richland District 1). He served in this position for 16 years. Upon retiring, he enjoyed travel, golf, and fishing with family and friends. He loved God, his country, and his family.

LTC Awtrey is survived by his wife of 46 years, Dora Ann Easler Awtrey; his sons, Richard E. Awtrey (Rebecca), Grand Rapids, MI; Michael S. Awtrey, Columbia, SC; and Randall D. Awtrey (Marie), Columbia, SC; stepsons, Kenneth L. Prewitt and Michael Greg Prewitt (Melanie), Columbia, SC. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, The Rev. Matthew Awtrey (Jeni) of SC, Lauren Burrows (Derrell) of SC, Thomas Awtrey (Rachel) of AL, Patrick Awtrey of MI, Megan Awtrey of FL, Elizabeth Moynihan (Bryan) of FL, Turner Prewitt of SC and seven great-grandchildren.

The family would like to thank his physicians and staff who provided dedicated and compassionate care these past years: Donald Millis, MD; Robert A. Schulz, Jr., MD; John Rawls, MD; and John Morgan, MD, Augusta, GA; and J.J. Khoury, MD. The family would also like to thank Rice Estates and Lutheran Hospice who gave him excellent care during his final days.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to North Trenholm Baptist Church, 6515 North Trenholm Road, Columbia, SC 29206 or the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675-8517.

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