Sylvia Shy: A fighter to the end

The Covington News - - Front page - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

Fam­ily mem­bers and friends will say good­bye and cel­e­brate the life of Sylvia Shy, 57, on Satur­day at 1 p.m. at Richard’s Chapel United Methodist Church.

Shy died Tues­day af­ter bat­tling breast can­cer. She was di­ag­nosed with stage 4 HER2-pos­i­tive can­cer in 2002 and was well-known in the community for telling her story of sur­viv­ing the ill­ness.

Shy, a life­long res­i­dent of Cov­ing­ton was the first African-Amer­i­can stu­dent body pres­i­dent at New­ton County High School for her grad­u­at­ing class of 1972. She first at­tended the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia on a four-year schol­ar­ship af­ter grad­u­a­tion, mar­ried and had two daugh­ters, Shameeka and Chanci. Shy fin­ished her de­gree in man­age­ment and grad­u­ated Magna Cum Laude from Clay­ton State Univer­sity in 2004. She worked at Litho­nia Lighting, now Acu­ity

Brands, for nearly three decades.

Shy’s daugh­ter, Shameeka Ay­ers, said her mom was a game changer and a very proud prod­uct of Cov­ing­ton. She said her mom never met a stranger and in­spired all those who came across her path.

“She was ed­u­cated here, raised her fam­ily here and had many fam­ily friends here,” Ay­ers said. “She was very well re­spected and well liked. She was just an in­spi­ra­tion to so many.”

Ay­ers said when her mom was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer she im­me­di­ately be­came ac­tive in community events that raised aware­ness about can­cer.

“She re­ally fought the good fight with the breast can­cer. When she was di­ag­nosed orig­i­nally in 2002; she re­ally made it her busi­ness to be­come very ac­tive in the Komen ef­forts as it re­lates to the cure,” Ay­ers said. “She also was very in­te­grated into the lo­cal Re­lay for Life ac­tiv­ity. She would go to the Horse Park and take the sur­vivors walk, which hap­pened twice a year. That was some­thing she al­ways looked for­ward to par­tic­i­pat­ing in and [some­thing] we en­joyed watch­ing her par­tic­i­pate in.”

Ay­ers also said her mom was very rooted and grounded in her faith. She said Shy at­tended Richard’s Chapel United Methodist Church all of her life and her faith in God helped her through her jour­ney with breast can­cer.

“She didn’t take life for granted. Her life was re­ally punc­tu­ated with “to God be the glory”. She was very self­less,” Ay­ers said.

Shy’s sis­ters, Karen Hill and An­gela Robert­son, also spoke about their older sis­ter. They said Shy loved peo­ple and was full of wis­dom.

“She was gen­uinely com­mit­ted to God and gen­uinely com­mit­ted to peo­ple. She loved ev­ery­body. She just cared about peo­ple,” Hill said.

“She was so wise, just full of wis­dom. When­ever you had some kind of con­cern or any kind of prob­lem or any­thing you wanted to talk through, she would talk through it with you and she gave the wis­est com­mon sense coun­sel.”

“I will re­mem­ber her as be­ing a fighter, a God fear­ing woman and some­one you could talk to,” Robert­son said. “She fought this breast can­cer to the end. She didn’t give up.”

A ray of sun­shine, Sylvia Shy was de­scribed as be­ing al­ways up­beat.

Shy pic­tured with her sis­ters, from left: Sylvia Hollingsworth Shy, An­gela Hollingsworth Robert­son and Karen Hollingsworth Hill.

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