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Remembering those who left us this year

Posted: December 13, 2013 1:31 p.m.
Updated: December 16, 2013 5:00 a.m.

As we approach the end of 2013, I thought about those who have left us -- those whose deaths are notable either because of who they were or the circumstances of their passing. While everyone notes the passing of luminaries, what about the people we’ve lost this year in Kershaw County? My list is not long, although there were certainly a lot of obituaries to go through; some even made the front page.

I have likely skipped over many people you hold dear and, for that, I apologize -- I really didn’t have any criteria. The ones I thought notable, in as close to chronological order as I can make, are:

DeWitte Peake, 56, of Lugoff (January) -- a long-time volunteer with the Pine Grove Fire Department. Peake died following a vehicle collision involving a Lugoff man charged with felony DUI. Peake was forced to “lay down” his motorcycle on Pine Grove Road only to collide with the offender’s car.

Max Wood, 88, of Camden, Camden Country Club and Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County supporter (February) -- Wood, with his wife, Sibby, helped found the FAC, served as a board member of the National Steeplechase Museum and was a long-time member of the Camden Hunt. In addition, he was a decorated WWII veteran, having fought in the Philippines.

Barbara Swindall, 54, 2012 Kershaw County Council candidate (April) -- Swindall came on the political scene in 2012 when she ran for council District 1. She became one of many candidates removed from the ballot through a court order, but successfully petitioned to be placed back on. She then dropped out of the race in September 2012 citing business commitments.

Charles “Red” DuBose, 77, of Camden, real estate (May) -- During his life-long career in real estate, DuBose worked in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Charlottesville, Va.; and Hilton Head Island. He also worked at C.P. DuBose & Son (founded by his grandfather in 1910) and formed his own firm which later became part of Russell & Jeffcoat. DuBose also loved history, being the grandson of Camden Mayor Charles Perkins DuBose, a descendant of Revolutionary War hero Joseph Kershaw, great-grandson of Confederate Gen. John Doby Kennedy and a great-grandson of Titanic survivor Edith Junkins Graham.

Leonard Price, 92, Boonetown, education philanthropist (June) -- Called the “quiet giant” of Kershaw County. Just before his death Price donated 25 acres to the Kershaw County School District for a proposed elementary school. He also often opened up his own property to the Boy Scouts for its Camporee and supported student athletes and others in many, many ways.

Daven Williams, 15, student at Pine Grove residential school (June) -- Kershaw County and, especially, the Elgin community, were saddened by Daven’s death, having drowned in a pool about a quarter-mile from the school he attended.

Frankye Cooper Hull, 77, of Camden, children’s advocate (July) -- Hull graced our pages in 2009 when she received the national G.F. Bettineski Advocate of the Year Award in recognition for her years of service as a Guardian ad Litem to the children of Camden and Kershaw County. She once taught English at both Jackson and Camden high schools; and worked with a variety of civic organizations, including what is now the Family Resource Center.

William “Bill” McAbee, 81, of Camden, entrepreneur (July) -- McAbee was a U.S. Navy veteran, supervisor of the embroidery department at Skyline Manufacturing and founded Jubilee Embroidery Co. in 1973. He loved sports and played either baseball or softball for six decades; he coached as well. McAbee also enjoyed golf, shooting a 78 game when he was 79.

Judi Thiel, 74, of Camden, animal activist (August) -- Born in Memphis, Thiel was a lifetime horse enthusiast, avid foxhunter, longtime Master of the Camden Hunt and longtime supporter of the Kershaw County Humane Society (KCHS) and Walter M. Crowe Animal Shelter. The Society’s future adoption center will be called the Meyer-Thiel Adoption Center in honor of her and another family’s contributions.

Alan Thomas Robinson, 67, Bethune, murder victim (August) -- Kershaw County deputies arrested at least one man for deliberately striking Robinson while riding his moped on Freeman Road. Their intention was allegedly to steal the moped, but killed him in the process.

Erica Broughton, 26, of Cassatt, mail carrier and firefighter (November) -- Broughton’s death saddened especially the Bethune and Cassatt communities. The young wife and mother had just started running a mail carrier route when she died in a single vehicle accident. Broughton served with the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department alongside her husband, brother and cousin.

Rob Evans, 50, of Lugoff, KCSO deputy and SRO (November) -- Kershaw County is still hurting from this most recent loss. Evans was well-liked, both at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School --  where he coached, acted as the “Voice of the Demons” and as the school’s resource officer -- and at Wateree Elementary School where he directed traffic. It was there that he suffered a heart attack, dying the next day at a Columbia hospital. He will long be remembered for his smile, bringing Rachel’s Challenge to L-EMS and being an anti-bullying champion.

As I said, there are many others. Let’s remember these people and many more as we reach the end of 2013 with the hope that we’ll have fewer passings to note in 2014.

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