Friends, family remember Shannon

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The flag-draped casket of Correctional Officer Wendy Shannon is brought into the Fine Arts Center at Elizabeth City State University for Shannon's funeral service, Sunday.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Monday, November 6, 2017

Family, friends and co-workers of Correctional Officer Wendy L. Shannon remembered her as a person of faith, a dedicated officer and “a great all-around person” in a funeral Sunday. 

Shannon died Monday, Oct. 30, from injuries suffered in a failed inmate escape attempt at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution on Thursday, Oct. 12. She was the third prison worker to die from injuries sustained during the attempt. A fourth worker died on Thursday. 

An estimated 200 uniformed officers from the N.C. Division of Prisons attended Shannon’s service, held in the Fine Arts Auditorium on campus at Elizabeth City State University. A spokesman for the N.C. Department of Public Safety said other officers were in attendance who were not in uniform.

Representatives of the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation provided an Honor Guard, and correctional officers from several states, including Texas, Michigan, Connecticut, Oklahoma, the State of Washington and Delaware, also attended. 

The Honor Guard played “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes as a horse-drawn caisson carried Shannon’s casket to the auditorium. A group of Patriot Guard Riders bore American Flags, while family members entered the Fine Arts Center.

Representing state and local law enforcement agencies were the N.C. Highway Patrol, Elizabeth City Police Department, Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office and ECSU Police.

Speaking at Shannon’s service was her cousin Celena Sheard, who said they were more like sisters. It was a privilege to know her and a blessing to be in her family, said Sheard, who also voiced a strong resolve on behalf of the family.

“This attempted prison escape has scarred us, but it will not define us,” she said, saying her cousin “outshines it all.”

Felix Taylor, administrator at PCI, said he knew Shannon not just as an ofifcer but as a friendly person who “always had a smile and always talked about those crabs.” A couple of speakers mentioned her fondness for catching and eating crabs.

Taylor said Shannon had recently been told she was allergic to crabs, but had said she was going to keep eating them anyway. He remembered her as “just a great all-around person.”

Fondella Leigh, vice chairman of the Perquimans County Board of Commissioners, read a  Perquimans County resolution that honored Shannon for giving her life in sacrificial service. The resolution notes accomplishments such as being a basketball standout in high school and serving 21 years in the Army.

Leigh spoke of Shannon’s sense of humor, her love for her family and her devotion to God.

Lionel Whidbee, a deacon at St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church, said he praises God for Shannon’s support of the church. 

The Rev. Ricky L. Banks, pastor of St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church, called Shannon “a rare and unique gift to the Body of Christ.” He mentioned her sense of humor and her commitment to the church.

Citing the book of Job in the Old Testament, Banks encouraged the family to be “faithful in hard places” and praise God in the midst of adversity.

The Rev. Alvin J. Boone Sr. in a prayer at the service remembered Shannon as one who “gave her life for those that she loved.”

Presiding over Sunday’s service was the Rev. John Shannon, pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Edenton and a member of Wendy Shannon’s extended family.