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 co-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 and 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."