East Gaston guidance school counselor dies after cancer battle

School remembers her 26-year tenures

by Tori Hamby

MOUNT HOLLY – An adored East Gaston High School guidance counselor and former 2010 Gaston County Guidance Counselor of the Year passed away in January after a battle with cancer.

Cindy Cloninger died Jan. 13 at Levine Dickson Hospice House in Huntersville.

In a news statement, Rusty McAbee, assistant principal of the Mount Holly high school, praised her 26 years of employment at the school.

“Ms. Cindy Cloninger was a remarkable counselor who embraced all students, parents and community members,” McAbee said. “In her tenure at East Gaston High School, Ms. Cloninger was passionate to assist students in their academic needs, personal concerns and future plans after graduation.”

Cloninger’s achievements extended outside of the classroom, as well. In addition to being named county guidance counselor of the year, the Gaston County Sports Hall of Fame bestowed her with the honor of “Fan of the Year” two years ago.

McAbee said that Cloninger continued her work at the school, even after her cancer diagnosis.

“Even throughout her illness, she continued to move forward with a positive attitude to work with, as she always called it, ‘her children,’” McAbee said.

“She saw the good in all people, had a huge heart and worked with all students to achieve their greatest potential.”

Cloninger is survived by her mother and father, Ray and Ann Cloninger of Denver; sister, Karla Cloninger of Huntersville; brother Ken Cloninger and wife, Liz; and two nieces Reagan and Reese Cloninger of Cornelius.

Her sister, Ginger Cloninger, preceded her in death.

A funeral service was held Jan. 16 at Bethlehem Church in Gastonia. A graveside service and burial followed at Denver United Methodist Church. Warlick Funeral Home served the family.


Memorials may be made to Hospice of Lincoln County, 107 N. Cedar St., Lincolnton, N.C. 28092 or Bethlehem Church’s Children’s Ministries, P.O. Box 551387, Gastonia, N.C. 28055.

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