Lawrence County woman shot to death remembered fondly by friends and co-workers


LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (WKRN) — A sense of loss is being felt in several communities after the murder of a beloved worker at a Lawrenceburg assisted living center.

It happened Tuesday night at the Summit of Lawrenceburg on Prosser Road. Sources tell News 2 that an unknown assailant shot 52-year-old Sharon Gillespie. She was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

On Wednesday, mourners from Lawrenceburg to Mt. Pleasant to Columbia remembered Gillespie as a caring, spiritual person, who was always smiling and willing to help.

At “Mum’s, the Word” flower shop in Columbia, longtime friends John Christopher Armstrong and his mother Christi Armstrong remembered Sharon Gillespie with smiles and flowers and fond wishes.

Shop owner and designer John Christopher says, “She lit up a room. She was just an awesome lady. She was funny and caring.”

“We worshipped together and that was a special time, and we are really really going to miss her,” the store owner added.

Armstrong tells News 2 “I heard the news, this morning. I looked at my phone. Then her nephew called me and something’s happened to Sharon, she passed. I was devastated. She was truly a close family member friend through the years. Her family was neighbors to my grandparents in Mt. Pleasant, all raised up together. And later in life, we were church members in the same church congregation for like 12 to 15 years. We worshipped together. It was a special time will really miss her,” John Christopher said.

His mother, shop manager Christi Armstrong, grew up with Gillespie in the Mt. Pleasant community.

Mrs. Gillespie tells News 2 the women were reunited more than a decade ago while Christi was a pastor at a church that Gillespie began attending.

“Me and her would get on the phone and just giggle and laugh. And I am going to miss that laughter and I am going to remember that joy.”

Christi tells News 2 she has no idea who would want to harm Sharon Gillespie. According to the Armstrong, Gillespie was not currently married, and she had no children.

Christi says the 52-year-old woman was always quick with a smile and willing to help.

“I just talked to her last week. Everything was going well. And she was just here at the shop. And Sharon was the kind of person, no matter what you were doing, she wanted to help you do that. If we were feeding and the church needed something, she’d say what do you want, what do you want me to cook? And whatever I needed, a dish, or a helping hand, a basket, she was multi-talented, she could make cakes.”

Police have released little information about Tuesday night’s murder.

Executive Director Patti Odom of the Summit of Lawrenceburg Assisted Living Community spoke highly of the caregiver who had worked there for two years: “She was a light in a dark world! Always had a smile, always laughing. A wonderful care giver to our residents.”

John Christopher Armstrong says the news of the woman who called him ‘little brother’ is just heartbreaking.

“The world is missing a just bright soul, someone who lit up a room, who brightened your day with a smile or a laugh or said something funny. She was a great lady and that is what the world is missing.”

The flower shop owner’s mother adds, “I want everyone watching this today to just laugh today for Sharon and find joy. But have fun and laugh and be thankful for every day because we do not know when it is our last.”

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