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Local service for Jason Shirey set for Saturday

A local memorial service for assistant city manager Jason Shirey who died last week has been set for Saturday here. The service will be held at 3 p.m. at the Church of the Nazarene on Veterans Parkway. Shirey’s sudden death March 26 devastated the employees at city hall and countless people with whom he had worked with over his 13 years here. ‘This has left a hole in my heart. Words cannot express how much we miss him and how much we know we are going to miss him,’ city manager Kenny Roberts said Monday. Shirey, 39, came to Barnesville as project manager for OMI on the water treatment plant project. He later joined the city where he had worked for over nine years. ‘He was never out sick. He worked out all the time at the civic center. He had knee surgery once and only missed a couple of days,’ Roberts continued. Shirey fell ill about three and a half weeks ago, Roberts related. He thought he had a cold or sinus problems. He had experienced sinus issues before. A trip to the doctor resulted in a diagnosis of pneumonia and he was prescribed antibiotics and steroids. He took both prescriptions fully but still was no better and finally went to the emergency room on a Sunday night. X-rays showed pneumonia in both lungs and he was given a different antibiotic. His breathing was labored and he could walk only 20-30 feet where he once ran marathons. Last Wednesday, he returned to the doctor and X-rays showed two new spots of pneumonia on his lungs. A CT scan was ordered and he was to call about it on Thursday. However, he worsened Thursday morning. His breathing became so labored he asked his mother to call 911 at about 11 a.m. He stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest at his Redbud Drive home. EMTs were unable to revive him. Less than an hour before his death he had talked on the phone to former mayor Jimmy Matthews and water/ sewer superintendent Chris Callahan. He also texted birthday wishes to fellow city employee Niki Sappington. Funeral services for Shirey were held Sunday at Chapman Funeral Home in Swainsboro. Shirey was buried with full Masonic rites at the Sardis Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery near Kite. Roberts estimated there were 300 people at the funeral and two thirds of those in attendance were from Barnesville- Lamar County. ’It was so heart warming to see the community turn out like it did for Jason,’ Roberts said.

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