Mississippi College

Mississippi College Family Celebrates Life of Sean Gauley at Memorial Service

January 24, 2014

Sean Aaron Gauley always kept a smile on his face and enjoyed serving others while doing God’s work.

An 18-year-old Mississippi College freshman, Gauley lived life to the fullest as a Christian devoted to his faith, MC family members said at a memorial service Thursday evening.

About 100 people came to worship at Provine Chapel and celebrate Sean’s life. The Owensboro, Kentucky resident died January 13 in a Birmingham hospital following injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in December. He was on his way home to Kentucky following the university’s Christmas break.

“Over the past few weeks, we have been challenged by your love for one another and your love for Sean Gauley and his family,” Mississippi College administrator Joseph Odenwald told the memorial service audience on the Clinton campus. That especially holds true for Sean’s closest friends in the Shawreth social club, an MC group of men committed to Jesus Christ and one other.

As the Shawreth’s saying goes, “they never failed their brother,” said Odenwald, associate dean of students. He challenged Mississippi College students to get beyond their grief and “live their lives in such a way as to not fail Sean.”

Christian Studies professor Ivan Parke was touched by the series of speeches about this outstanding young man. The memorial service, he said, “came straight from the heart. In his own way, each student honored Sean and glorified God. We testified, despite tragedy, that God is good.”

The Mississippi College family finds comfort in “the hope that Sean now worships in the presence of the Lord whom he served so well on earth,” Parke said.

President Lee Royce and his wife, Rhoda, joined faculty, staff and students for the 45-minute service on a chilly January 23 evening.

Sean’s obituary in his hometown newspaper, the Owensboro “Messenger-Inquirer” describes a gracious teen-ager who was wise beyond his years. Active at Heritage Baptist Church in Owensboro, Sean served as a mentor to teen-age boys and worked in the church’s audio-visual department.

At Mississippi College, the energetic freshman studied secondary education and hoped to become a biology teacher.

MC friends like Jared Ennis, 19, of New Orleans, called Sean “the perfect brother. He was always willing to listen and he always put his other brothers before him. He loved God passionately.” It was “impossible to not love him,” Jared said. “He was always there if you needed him.”

Sean Gauley, said freshman James Anderson, was “wholly committed to running after Christ. His joyful love for God and people was infectious.”

Hours before the memorial service, Mississippi College students sponsored a bake sale at the campus cafeteria to benefit Sean Gauley’s family. Their ties to Mississippi College run deep. Sean Gauley’s older brother, Austin Gauley, is an award-winning MC interior design graduate.

Sean’s parents, Jim and RaeAnne Gauley, recently expressed their thanks for the many prayers coming from the Mississippi College community.

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