May 18, 2021

Sgt. Jeff Terrell

Sgt. James Franklin “Jeff” Terrell, Jr. (GSP, Ret.), age 94, of Ephesus passed away July 20, 2019.

Funeral services will be conducted Thursday July 25, 2019 at 2:00 PM from Ephesus Baptist Church with the Revs. Ralph Caldwell and Kevin Geter officiating.

His body will lie in state at the church from 1:30 PM until the funeral hour.

Interment will follow the service in the church cemetery with members of the Georgia State Patrol Honor Guard serving as pall bearers and presenting honors.

The family will accept guests at Stutts Funeral Home Wednesday evening from 5:00 – 8:00 PM.

Sgt. Terrell was born August 22, 1924 in Heard County, the youngest of eight children born to the late James Franklin Terrell, Sr. and America Cavender Terrell. He was a member of Ephesus Baptist Church.

He graduated from Centralhatchee High School in 1943. He married the love of his life, the late Jollie Zane Pope (also a 1943 Centralhatchee graduate), in the back of a school bus after being drafted into the US Army. He served his country for almost three years, and was discharged in 1946.

After his years in the Army he owned a fertilizer and mercantile business in the local area. He also farmed and ran tractors. He was always busy working to provide for his family.

State Representative Artie Rogers recommended Jeff for a Highway Patrolman position. Jeff graduated from the 19th Session of Patrol School at the Georgia Center of Continuing Education, one of 57 in his class. His badge number, #398, was created on June 15, 1957.

His first post was in Manchester. He was transferred to the Villa Rica post to assist after the infamous gas explosion that devastated the town on December 5, 1957. While serving the Villa Rica post he was run over by a drunk driver at the Carroll County Fair, resulting in a broken arm.

He also directed traffic for the first NASCAR race held at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1960. His experience resulted in a dislike with anything to do with auto racing.

In the early 1960’s he was assigned to a special detail during a Civil Rights march in Albany. Among the attendees was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of Jeff’s memories of that day was marveling at the watch Dr. King was wearing while he took a nap. Jeff said it was “the biggest watch he had ever seen!”

Jeff was transferred two more times in the 1960’s – first to Cedartown in 1961, then to LaFayette in 1968. Jollie taught school in the Walker County School System while he was stationed there.

On Valentine’s Day in 1969 he met a car that an APB had been put out on. He pulled the car over in the Noble community. While attempting to apprehend the subjects, he was shot point blank with a double barreled shotgun. He was rushed to the hospital and saved by the valiant work of the doctors. The first thing he said when he woke up after surgery was, “Where’s my shirt?”

He asked that the blood stained shirt be hung in his room as an incentive to return to the job he loved. He wanted to be back on the road again. He endured a period of physical therapy and returned to the force.

However, due to his injuries he was unable to resume active road duty. He was promoted to Corporal and assigned as the head of the Motor Vehicle Inspections Division for Northwest Georgia at the post in Rome.

After serving there for two years he was promoted to Sergeant, then decided to take medical retirement.

According to those who knew him best, he never went a day without mentioning his service for the State of Georgia and how much he missed being a State Trooper.

Jeff remained active throughout all of his years until his body failed him. He drove a school bus for Walker County School System and, later, worked for Plunkett’s Clothing in Bowdon after moving back to Heard County. He was a beloved citizen of the City of Ephesus.

As a tongue-in-cheek tribute to him, his son named his driveway in Jeff’s honor after he bought the gravel for it. For some time after, people would drive down “Jeff Terrell Scenic Trail” not knowing it was only the driveway to someone’s house!

Jeff was a great man with a legacy of service to his state who will continue to be an inspiration to the many State Troopers who follow in his footsteps.

Survivors include son, James Stuart Terrell (Jeannie) of North Carolina; daughter-in-law, Peg Terrell of Rocky Face, GA; eight grandchildren, Kelly Wilburn (Chris), Christin Smith (Jason), Ashley Jones (Rob), Valerie Miller (Danny), Victoria Dunning (Matthew), Zachery Terrell (Angela), Khris Terrell (Shae), and Abby Burke (Tyson); 14 great-grandchildren; and a host of other relatives and friends.

In addition to his parents and wife, Jollie Pope Terrell, he was preceded in death by a son, Douglas Franklin Terrell.

Those who wish may write memorial tributes at

Stutts Funeral Home of Franklin, GA in charge of arrangements.


  1. Deputy Gary Kuiper SJSO (Retired) St Johns Co. Florida says

    RIP and Gods Speed Trooper Jeff Terrell. Your tour of duty is completed. Thank You for your Service.

  2. Janice Marshall says

    My husband, Verne Marshall, met Jeff when they were both working in Cedartown, a friendship which lasted until Verne’s death in 2017! Our daughter lives in Dunwoody and the pediatrician for our grandson, Dr. Kelly Wilburn, is Jeff’s granddaughter. Jeff and Verne talked about how special that was!!! Prayers for this special family. A life well lived.

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