Pictured: Peg and J. Wesley Jeffries at Friday night’s ceremony.
By Ted Shockley
Two Chincoteague High School graduates who distinguished themselves during long local careers were inducted Friday night into the school’s Hall of Fame.
J. Wesley Jeffries, a former town manager and former teacher and student at the school, and the late Greg Merritt, a Chincoteague grad who served as sports editor for the Eastern Shore News for 25 years, each were honored.
The ceremony took place at halftime of the annual alumni basketball game.
Jeffries, a 1962 Chincoteague High graduate, graduated from the College of William and Mary and returned to teach math and chemistry at his high school.
“He could make complex things fun and interesting,” said Harold Holmes, principal of Chincoteague Combined School, at the ceremony.
He also was a coach and athletic director at the school and later served as town director of public works and town manager. He is a longtime member of Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Co.
Holmes called Jeffries “Mr. Chincoteague.” Jeffries accepted the honor with his wife, Peg.
Merritt, a 1968 Chincoteague High graduate, attended the University of Virginia before graduating from Virginia Wesleyan. He was known as a tireless journalist for the Eastern Shore News who spent many hours covering games involving area student athletes.
“School rivalries were fierce at that time and everyone would wait for the paper to come out to see Greg’s take on the local sports action,” said Holmes.
“He was always fair and kept the integrity of the game paramount in his writing,” he said.
Merritt died of ALS in 2014 at the age of 63. His son, Drew, and his mother, Helen, attended the ceremony to accept the honor.
Jeffries and Merritt will have their photos adorn a wall at the schools entrance with the four other members of the Hall of Fame.
They include Terry C. Johnson, Wyle Maddox Jr., Oscar “Sawyer” Mears and Donnie Wayne Tyndall.