It is with deep sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of Eleanor Sherlyn Harrell, age 86 on Friday, December 24th after a courageous battle with complications from Covid-19. She was an unforgettable character and a bright spot in this world. She will be deeply missed by many who knew her. She is survived by her sister, Kathryn Phillips and brother-in-law Wayne Phillips of Greenville NC; Sister-in-law, Carol Harrell of Albuquerque, NM; nieces and nephews: Dawn Phillips of Greenville, NC; David Phillips of Bath, NC; Charles (Chuck) Harrell of Albuquerque, NM; Kathy and husband Tony Perlinski of Albuquerque, NM; Mary and husband Will Castle of Midlothian, VA; and Teresa (Tess) and husband John Nielson of Avon-by-the Sea, NJ and St. Simons Island, GA. Preceding her in death were her father and mother, Charles M. and Gertrude Harrell; siblings: brother, Charles Harrell her older brother and fishing buddy; Jean Raynor, her older sister and “debate partner”; Jake Raynor (husband of Jean Raynor); and her beloved friend and “sister” Jean Hobbs.
Sherlyn was born in Raleigh, NC and spent most of her adult life there. She later moved to Bunnlevel, NC to be closer to the Hobbs’ family whom she considered to be her adopted relatives. She attended Bunnlevel Presbyterian Church and made many friends there.
Apart from church, Sherlyn also loved the beach where she, along with her father and brother built a sound front cottage in 1962 from a do-it-yourself kit. A perfect day for her included tanning on the beach and fishing with her family off the Iron Steamer Pier for Spanish Mackerel. Another one of her loves was snack food. One might even say she was a connoisseur of junk food as she dutifully attended the annual state fair for Al’s fries, homemade fudge, candied apples, and foot-long hotdogs.
Throughout her life Sherlyn was especially interested in athletics, especially basketball and women’s soft pitch softball. At Cary High School she was a standout member of the girls’ basketball team and was awarded with the title of most athletic female. Later, her brother Charles taught her how to become a pitcher or hurler for fast pitch softball so she could play for Raleigh’s Recreation Department. As their pitcher, she was a member of the women’s fast pitch softball team that later won a state championship. Because of her sports accolades, Sherlyn was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
After attending Women’s College of the University of North Carolina and Louisburg College, Sherlyn worked as an Administrator’s Secretary for 42 years at NCSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. While there she became a member of the University’s Wolfpack Club and regularly attended basketball and football games. She was fortunate enough to be in Albuquerque, NM when NCSU’s “cardiac pack” won the men’s national basketball championship under the leadership of Coach Jim Valvano.
A funeral service is scheduled for 11:00 am on Thursday, December 30th at Bunnlevel Presbyterian Church at 6417 US 401, Bunnlevel, NC. A graveside service for family and friends will also be held at Montlawn Cemetery at 2911 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC. at 3:00 pm on Thursday, December 30th. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity on her behalf.
“You never said I’m leaving, you never said goodbye. You were gone before we knew it, and only God knew why. A million times we needed you, a million times we cried. If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died. In life we loved you dearly, in death we love you still. In our hearts you hold a place that no one could ever fill. It broke our hearts to lose you, but you didn’t go alone. For part of us went with you, the day God took you home.” Author Unknown