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Community mourns passing of ‘true Trojan’

“She was a gatherer.”

That’s how friend Edith Synco described Dr. Jean Laliberte, the retired vice chancellor for development at Troy University who died early Saturday.

“She gathered people,” Synco said. “She brought out the best in us; she organized us; she gave us things to do that we may not have thought we could do … but she was always bringing out the best in people.

“I can’t imagine fill the hole without her.”

“Troy University is saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Jean Laliberte, a true Trojan,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Chancellor. “She was a trusted colleague, and there was no one more enthusiastic about TROY than Jean. As a faculty member within our Sorrell College of Business for many years, Jean was committed to serving, encouraging and preparing our students for future success. Later, as Associate Vice Chancellor for Development, Jean’s dedication to and pride in the University was evident to all with whom she came in contact. Even in retirement, Jean remained devoted to serving the community and engaging with her Troy University family. We offer our thoughts and prayers to her family during this difficult time.”

When she retired in 2017 after more than 25 years at the university, Laliberte also was serving as vice president of the Troy University Foundation Board. Throughout her career at the university and in the years since her retirement, Laliberte poured her efforts into the community – from Park Memorial Methodist Church to the Pike Medical Foundation to the Troy City Schools Foundation to ADK and her beloved bingo groups.

“She was a founding council member for Female Factor and her involvement was crucial to our success,” said Karen Herring, marketing director for Troy Regional Medical Center. “She was also a board member of the Pike Medical Foundation and gave a total 100 percent to the hospital and the foundation …

“Not only was she a volunteer, she was probably my greatest mentor. She knew how to mold and shape you and you better and wat you were doing. I loved her.”

That unique ability to bring out the best in people is often cited as one of Laliberte’s lasting gifts for friends and the organizations with which she worked.

“She was good counsel,” said the Rev. Danny Arnold, pastor at Park Memorial. “She had tremendous leadership skills … and she could get you to go where you needed to go and you never knew it.”

Laliberte also was a person of tremendous faith. In a Facebook post about her mother’s passing, Jennifer Laliberte Gruber wrote “”We weren’t ready, and I know my mom was looking forward to so many things on this earth. But her heart was ready, and Heaven had her room ready.”

Jean Laliberte is survived by her husband, David; a daughter and son-in-law; and three two grandsons. Funeral arrangements will be shared when finalized.