Jill Ritchie Ross (Barker) Jemison, 53, passed away peacefully May 14, 2019, after a courageous three-year battle with cancer.
She was born on August 1, 1965, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was the youngest daughter of the late Marion Beryl (Gibbons) Barker and W. Ross Barker, who lives in Portage, Michigan. Jill’s Ritchie Ross names were in honor of her paternal Scottish grandmother, Ethel Ritchie Ross. She is survived by her husband, Todd Alan Jemison, sons Jack Ritchie Ross Jemison and Tanner Smith Jemison of Myrtle Beach, sisters Lynne (Bill) Lentz of Centreville, Michigan, Dawn (Sam) Zomer of Portage, Michigan, and brother Scott Barker of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and a beloved extended family including step-mother Helen Barker, Todd’s parents Tim and Patty Jemison and Hugh and Penny Martin, and many nieces and nephews.
Jill’s yen for writing began in Kalamazoo Central High School where she became the editor for her graduating class’s yearbook. Her education continued at Kalamazoo College for two years, where a few classmates became lifelong best friends. After transferring to Michigan State University, where Jill became a forever “Spartan”, she graduated with a degree in journalism with an emphasis on fashion.
While at Michigan State, she began working at a “Limited" women’s clothing store and transferred as a shift manager to a “Limited" store in Dallas, Texas. Shortly thereafter Jill moved to Myrtle Beach, accompanied by her faithful Doberman Athena, to open three "Earth Friendly" environmental stores. When Jill secured the position as marketing director for Myrtle Square Mall, she began her long career in and love for Myrtle Beach.
Jill put faith and family first. Her love for God, Todd, and their boys was unwavering and inspirational. In addition to being an incredibly caring supportive wife and mother, Jill was a talented musician. She enjoyed singing in the Vocal Edition choral ensemble and with the worship team at Beach Church. As a result of her love of the arts she introduced Jack and Tanner to music, art, and theatre. Jill taught the boys to be kind and accepting and was incredibly proud of the boys in all of their endeavors.
She was very involved in the Myrtle Beach community. When she wasn’t using her marketing talents for clients, she was managing fundraisers and marketing for Christian Academy, Beach Church and raising awareness for the Franklin G. Burroughs/Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum. Jill’s cancer diagnosis was the catalyst for her passion to get safer beauty products into the hands of everyone as a Beauty Counter Consultant.
Jill was always giving to others, and her ever-present smile was a powerful source of energy that made everyone around her feel special. She had a tremendous number of close friends who love her and who will miss her presence in their lives. She was smart and kind, loyal and loving. We are so grateful for the time she shared with us and we are thankful she has made her way to heaven, where she has always belonged.
Jill’s Celebration of Life service will be on Wednesday, May 22nd at Beach Church, 557 George Bishop Parkway, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579. Friends may gather in the church lobby beginning at 4:30 pm. The service will begin at 5:00 pm, with a reception to follow in the lobby. Jill had a passion for the arts, so the family requests contributions to be made in Jill’s memory to Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach, “Friends of the Fine Arts”, 291 Ronald McNair Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579, or the Franklin G. Burroughs/Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, 3100 S. Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577.