“Gerald had a strong sense of duty which compelled him to attend our meetings despite being weakened and ill," school board Chairwoman Kathie Russell said in a statement. "His time on the board will be marked by the zeal with which he represented his constituents and advocated for the children of Chatham County Schools. His door was always open to anyone who wanted to express a concern. He earned the respect of the public because he truly cared about what happened to our schools. He will be missed by many.”
Totten was a retired Marine Corps colonel.
"I am profoundly sad over the passing of Col. Totten. My heart goes out to his family during this difficult time," Superintendent Robert Logan said in a statement. "Col. Totten's passionate advocacy for many issues, including facilities and elementary reading programs, was a hallmark of his service. Col. Totten attended several meetings over the past few months on sheer will. I have the utmost respect for how he was determined to carry out his duties as a board member even in the midst of difficulty. He will be missed.”
Funeral arrangements haven't been announced.