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Botham Jean leads singing at Harding University | Photo provided by Harding University

‘This world has lost a light in the dark’

Harding graduate Botham Shem Jean remembered for his big voice and big heart.

DALLAS — Botham Shem Jean’s shooting death has brought a huge outpouring of condolences.

Jean, 26, grew up on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia before attending Harding University in Searcy, Ark. The 2016 accounting graduate was a member of the Dallas West Church of Christ.

Related: Botham Jean’s Dallas church intent on seeking justice

In their own words, here is how family and friends describe him:

Botham Shem Jean

“He had a captivating smile. He loved people. He loved helping people.”Sammie Berry Jr., minister and elder of the Dallas West church

“He cared about the Lord, and he wanted you to care about the Lord.” — Todd Gentry, Jean’s “Arkansas father” and college minister for the College Church of Christ in Searcy

“There are so many in the U.S. who have shown tremendous love to this boy. He was so loved.” — Bertrum Jean, father of Botham Jean


A baby brother

“You will always be my baby brother. I love you with all of my heart Botham Shem Jean. Until we meet again my love.”Allisa Findley, Jean’s sister, in a Facebook post the day after his death

A servant at Harding

“Most of all, he was faithful. … He was always in service of others, even when it wasn’t convenient for him. He was truly a gift from God, and our human words will never do him justice.”Alexis Stossel, another Harding friend

Cana Moore

Cana Moore

“He was involved in a wide variety of ways, primarily serving in places where help was needed. He had a passion for service and uplifting leaders. He was a man of great joy. His greatest service … was constantly pointing back to God as our focus.”Cana Moore, who attended Harding with Jean and is now student association president at Harding School of Theology in Memphis, Tenn.

“At Lectureship one year, I asked him to lead singing one night. Because of the subject, there was a particular old hymn that I asked him if he would mind leading. He didn’t say anything about not knowing the song, but he had never heard it before in his life. He came up that evening and was just smiling and excited about leading it. He told me he had never heard the song before, but that day, he called back to St. Lucia and asked his grandmother to teach him that old hymn on the phone. So he shared it with us at Lectureship that night, and it was a truly special moment. — Bruce McLarty, president of Harding

Students, faculty and staff at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., gather Monday night on the Benson Auditorium steps to grieve and remember alumnus Botham Shem Jean.

Students, faculty and staff at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., gather Monday night on the Benson Auditorium steps to grieve and remember alumnus Botham Shem Jean.

A ‘soldier of Christ’ in St. Lucia

“Botham was a soldier of Christ, committed to singing, song leading and teaching. (He was a) very vibrant young man who was well-loved by many and had the souls of men at heart. I can say more, but my heart is too heavy. All the congregations on the island are in grief.”Desma Charles, Jean’s aunt and member of the Gros Islet Church of Christ in St. Lucia

Debbie Gentry

Debbie Gentry

“It’s hard to describe Botham except to say he was like a prince on that island. He was just so loved.”Debbie Gentry, Jean’s “Arkansas mother,” who traveled with him on mission trips to St. Lucia

“He was a great song leader and a big part of the Caribbean Lectures.”Ken Dye, longtime missionary to the Caribbean

“I am in deep pain for my brother and friend, also for his parents and other family members. This is so sad and such a loss for the Christian brotherhood, especially in this region and the Harding University community.”Elton Terry, minister for the St. Thomas Church of Christ in the U.S. Virgin Islands

A light for his colleagues

“Bo’s positive spirit will not leave PwC with his death. His memory will continue to inspire us to be better people. … Bo has inspired us to be like Bo.”Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, where Jean worked

“This world has lost a light in the dark.”Kerry Ray, who worked with Jean at PricewaterhouseCoopers

Filed under: Botham Jean Dallas Harding University National police Texas

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