Remembering longtime basketball scorekeeper and clock operator who also was a Gaston County school teacher, administrator and school board member

By Richard Walker
This has been a challenging week for Cherryville High’s basketball program – and not because of anything on the basketball court.

Terry Usery

The only clock operator Ironmen head coach Scott Harrill has ever known in his coaching career, Terry Alan Usery, died after complications from COVID-19 last Saturday. Usery, 68, died at Caromont Regional Medical Center.

“It’s been challenging for us for sure,” Harrill said. “It’s certainly been a tough couple of days for all of us.”

Usery served as scorekeeper at Bessemer City and Cherryville high schools and became Cherryville’s home clock operator in the late 1990s. And Harrill remembers many road games in which Usery kept his own scorebook and supported the local team.

“He was just one of those guys who would do anything to help you in education,” Harrill said. “You can’t count the number of students, teachers and administrators he’s helped over the years. I’ll be forever grateful for what he did for the Cherryville basketball program.”

In the past year, Harrill and Terry hadn’t gotten closer simply because Harrill’s son Lane is currently a freshman basketball player at Terry’s alma mater of Mars Hill.

“We talked frequently about that,” Harrill said. “He was a Mars Hill guy and he was so happy that Lane was there.”

Terry was born June 1, 1952 in Mecklenburg County, to the late James “Bill” Usery and Ruby Bess Usery.

A graduate of Clover, S.C., High School and Mars Hill College, Terry received his Master’s Degree in School Administration from Winthrop College and also studied Education at UNC Charlotte.

A member Gastonia’s Chapel Grove Baptist Church where he played the organ and piano and had served as youth director, he was active at two other churches. At Dallas’ Puett United Methodist Church, he served as choir director, pianist, and organist and at Kings Mountain’s Mary’s Grove United Methodist Church, he played the organ and piano. He also took part in two mission trips to the Ukraine and had a great love for the Ukrainian people.

Terry began a long career in education in 1974 and served as a teacher at Carr, Page and Tryon elementary schools, was assistant principal at Woodhill elementary school and W.C. Friday Middle School and was principal at Cherryville, Page and Tryon elementary schools. A frequent bus driver for many school functions, Terry was named Gaston County’s principal of the year in 2012-13.

After retiring from education in 2014, he spent two two-year terms on the Gaston County School board from 2016 to 2020.

Preceding Terry in death were sister Susan Usery Sirmons and brother Randy Scott Usery. His survivors include sister Jamie Usery Bumgarner and niece Jessica Usery.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Gastonia’s at Parkwood Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mars Hill University; Puett United Methodist Church; Chapel Grove Baptist Church; Holy Angels; or to a charity of your choice that participates in educating and feeding children in Gaston County.