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Pauline and David Jarrell at the April 29 groundbreaking of the Center City Garden, for which they donated much of the land.    Eric Abernathy/Randolph Hub

Asheboro’s ‘First Lady’ leaves her legacy

ASHEBORO — Pauline Jarrell died before seeing her dream come to fruition but was present on April 29 for the groundbreaking of the David and Pauline Jarrell Center City Garden.


Often called the First Lady of Asheboro during her husband’s term as mayor, she was David’s right hand when he dealt with city affairs.


David Jarrell honored his late wife with these words:


“One of Pauline's greatest attributes was her selfless attitude. She never sought recognition for herself but always kept her praises focused on those around her. During my working career, we moved seven times and built five houses. Our daughter Karen attended three high schools in four years as a result. 


“In all this, Pauline found ways to support our family and assimilate into the local community. However, after spending nearly 70 years of her life in or around Asheboro, she has always considered Asheboro her home. She had an unwavering faith in God, and words cannot describe her love of family. She subscribed to the tenet ‘to have a friend, you need to be a friend,’ and she practiced that daily. Thanks to her, we have made lasting friends in each place we lived.


“She and I felt led to donate 2.5 acres of the historical Jonathan Worth land to the city to be used as a garden or small park. When she heard the garden would be named The David and Pauline Jarrell Center City Garden, she said, ‘Can't we just call it The Center City Garden?’ because she always cared more about doing good for others versus receiving recognition. 


“She was the consummate wife, mom, grandmom and great-grandmom. As someone who was born in the Great Depression and was without electricity until she was 15, she believed in keeping things simple. The key to a happy life is to learn to be content with what you have. She valued relationships over material things and lived a full and happy life. 


“Her life lessons are things we could all benefit from — put God and your faith first, keep things simple, take time to have meaningful relationships, work hard, find happiness in your life with what you have, and be a friend to everyone you meet.”


Among Pauline’s many interests was gardening. “She was instrumental with another woman in forming the Westside Garden Club,” David said. “She was always interested in gardening and flowers.”


During David’s eight years as mayor of Asheboro (2001-09), Pauline worked behind the scenes as his greatest supporter. “She was a sounding board for ideas,” he said. “She was involved in a lot of things in the background. We talked things over and she was supportive.”


The couple had bought property within the block bordered by Worth, Main, Academy and Cox streets. “We bought it with the idea of putting senior homes there,” David said, even having a man take an option on the property to build apartments. But then the economy went sour and nothing was done. 


“I was glad because it was not the best place for apartments on historic land,” he said. “We talked about it with the mayor (David Smith) and decided to use it as an arboretum or garden. We decided to donate the property to the city if they would use it for a garden.”


The Jarrells’ 2.5 acres was augmented with another adjoining half acre and the Center City Garden became a project for the near future. David and Pauline were present and he spoke at the April 29 groundbreaking.


Pauline is survived by, in addition to David and Karen, her son-in-law, Dean Browder; granddaughters, Emily Fagan (Matthew) and Alissa Bottoms (Trent); and great-grandson, Easton Bottoms. She is also survived by her brother, Ray Albright (Carolyn); her sisters, Faye Craven (Floyd), Betty Cox (Maurice) and Elaine Kearns (Neale); and many nieces and nephews.


In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her twin sister, Geraldine Callicutt (Pap), and her brother, Jesse Albright (Betty Sue).


A celebration of Pauline’s life was held July 6 at Central Methodist Church. Memorials can be made to the Asheboro Center City Garden to continue Pauline’s legacy and love of gardening and community. To do so, make checks payable to the City of Asheboro, indicate in the memo area “Pauline Jarrell Memorial” and mail them to PO Box 1106, Asheboro, NC 27204 with attention to Trevor Nuttall, the city’s Community Development Director.