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Chatham school board member Gerald Totten passes away

Posted Friday, December 4, 2009

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The students, employees, and families of Chatham County Schools mourn the loss of Gerald Totten, a member of the Chatham County Board of Education who passed away the morning of Wednesday, December 2, after a brief battle with cancer.


Even in his final days, Colonel Totten was concerned about his school system commitments, having asked his granddaughter unexpectedly after he had been resting to go in his building and find a box of paper he had promised to give Virginia Cross Elementary School for art students to use.


Colonel Totten was sworn in as a member of the Chatham County Board of Education in December of 2006 representing District 4. His term would have expired in 2010.


“Gerald had a strong sense of duty which compelled him to attend our meetings despite being weakened and ill. His time on the board will be marked by the zeal with which he represented his constituents and advocated for the children of Chatham County Schools. His door was always open to anyone who wanted to express a concern. He earned the respect of the public because he truly cared about what happened to our schools. He will be missed by many,” said Kathie Russell, Chair of the Board of Education.


"I am profoundly sad over the passing of Colonel Totten. My heart goes out to his family during this difficult time. Colonel Totten's passionate advocacy for many issues, including facilities and elementary reading programs, was a hallmark of his service. Colonel Totten attended several meetings over the past few months on sheer will. I have the utmost respect for how he was determined to carry out his duties as a Board member even in the midst of difficulty. He will be missed,” said Superintendent Robert Logan.


Colonel Totten spent his career in the United States Marine Corps. He and his family have greatly appreciated the many calls and cards they have received from people affiliated with the school system and from the community in recent weeks. He even had a phone call from a Chatham County resident currently serving in our military in Iraq.


His family is planning a memorial service, likely to be held this Saturday.

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