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January 16, 2013

Slain Alabama pastor’s wife lauded for faith, friendship

SCOTTSBORO — Slain pastor’s wife Lisa Ann Eidson Greer, 52, was eulogized as a faithful church leader, devoted teacher and friend in the church she attended growing up.

As rain poured down outside, a crowd filled the large sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Scottsboro on Tuesday to remember the retired teacher who was killed Jan. 10 at a church parsonage in Gardendale. Gardendale Police Chief Mike Walker said she was shot by her husband, the Rev. Terry Greer, pastor of Gardendale-Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church. Greer also shot his daughter, Suzanna, 18, and is charged with murder and attempted murder, Walker said. Greer also stabbed himself and remains hospitalized under police guard.

Suzanna attended the funeral, sat in the front pew, and walked out behind the casket at the end of the service, wiping tears from her face. Clergy who spoke about her mother during the funeral also directly addressed Susanna, who police said took the gun away from her father Thursday and ran to a neighbor for help after being shot. She provided a detailed account of the incident to police, Walker said.

May Thomas, a friend of Lisa Greer who said Suzanna asked her to do the eulogy, recalled Lisa’s 27-year teaching career. She read tributes from other teachers. “In her life I believe Lisa pleased the Lord,” Thomas said. She said Mrs. Greer’s “beauty will never be extinguished.”

The Rev. Steven A. Screws, pastor of First Methodist, said Lisa Greer knew all the halls and Sunday school rooms of the church.

“Lisa grew up here in Scottsboro,” he said. “This was her church... She was loved and nurtured in this church.”

Mrs. Greer graduated from Scottsboro High School in 1978 and from Birmingham-Southern College in 1982. She married Terry Greer on July 21, 1985.

“She was humble, nurturing and caring,” Screws said. “Life was about family, faith and friends.”

She played piano, went to Camp Sumatanga in summer growing up and took a cruise to Jamaica after high school, he said.

When her husband led a relocation and $2.5 million construction project for Christ Central Church in Rainbow City, Mrs. Greer’s role was important, Screws said. “She was as much a part of that as anybody,” he said. “She was the perfect pastor’s wife - strong, steady.

“She was witty and funny,” he said. “She was always concerned about others.”

Raising Suzanna was her priority, Screws said.

“The great joy of their life was Suzanna,” he said. Turning to Suzanna, he added, “When you sparkled, your parents sparkled. We love you dearly.”

The Rev. Ian Butler, who served as associate pastor when Terry Greer was pastor of Decatur First United Methodist Church, also spoke.

“Right now we’re all broken-hearted,” Butler said. “We’re looking for answers we may never find.”

Butler shared a story he said Suzanna told him on Sunday night. She recalled being dropped off at the skating rink by her father, but none of her friends were there, and after skating a short time she called him to come pick her up.

When they got home, Mrs. Greer was in the shower, so Greer asked his daughter, a good actor, to play a joke on her. He told her to cry on the steps and tell her mother that he had made her come home early from skating.

Mrs. Greer “grabbed him by the collar and started to drag him into the other room” until Terry Greer told Suzanna to “save me” by letting her in on the joke.

Then Butler addressed Suzanna directly. “You are one of the bravest, most intelligent, loving, strongest people I know,” he said. “I know Lisa had a lot to do with that.”

 

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