Alexander County commissioner killed in car crash traveling to Ohio

Dr. Jeffrey Peal, 57, originally from Ohio, was re-elected to his second term last November.
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 10:35 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A Alexander County commissioner died in a car crash while traveling to Ohio on Monday.

Dr. Jeffrey Peal, 57, originally from Ohio, was re-elected to his second term last November.

“We are truly saddened and devastated to learn the tragic news of Jeff’s passing,” Alexander County Commission Chairman Larry Yoder said. “He was an excellent example of a public servant who used his knowledge and experience for the betterment of Alexander County and our citizens. He loved God, his family, his country, and his county. We will never forget him.”

Peal moved to Alexander County in 2007.

He leaves behind his wife of 31 years, Renee; their three children Savannah, Baylee, and Elijah; and their four grandchildren. Baylee, the wife of Seth Sigmon, just gave birth to their first child on July 17. Savannah and husband Ryan Wilson have three young children. Elijah is a rising senior at Alexander Central High School.

In addition to being a commissioner, Peal served as the Principal at Millersville Christian Academy.

“Jeff made significant contributions during his service to Alexander County, and he will be sorely missed,” County Manager Rick French said. “Our sincere condolences are extended to his family who lost a great man, husband, father, and grandfather. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this time of healing.”

At Millersville Christian Academy, where Dr. Peal was principal, officials are in shock.

“Beyond belief, really,” said Millersville Baptist Church Pastor Bill Orren.

The school started four years ago with 16 students. Peal was the first principal and provided the vision for the future, said Orren. This fall, 175 students will be enrolled and officials say it will keep growing.

“This school wouldn’t be where it is now without Dr. Peal,” said Orren.

Scott Ferguson, who is on the academy’s school board, says Peal was an example for everyone whether it was while he was handling county business, school business, coaching, or with his family.

“In this day and age it’s not hard to find people who will give you a piece of their mind but it’s rare when someone will give you a piece of their heart,” said Ferguson.

On Tuesday afternoon, Alexander County Board of Commissioners issued a statement on Dr. Peal’s death.

“It is with deep sadness and regret that we acknowledge the death of Alexander County Commissioner Dr. Jeffrey Peal. He passed away at the age of 57 following a traffic accident in Ohio on July 19. As fellow board members, we are truly devastated by this tragic loss. Dr. Peal was first elected in November 2016 and reelected in November 2020. During his years of public service, he served on the board with integrity, wisdom, and honor as we worked together to make the best decisions for the citizens of Alexander County. He was a good man who loved God, his family, his country, and his county. We extend our sincere, heartfelt sympathy to his wife, three children, four grandchildren, and his friends. We ask our citizens to keep them all in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve this tremendous loss. Of course, the Board will persevere and move forward, but not without a long pause to remember and honor our friend and colleague. We will always remember Jeff for his friendship and contributions to Alexander County. Jeff was too well loved to ever be forgotten. Rest in peace, brother,” the statement read.

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