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A happy Mother’s Day

Posted: May 9, 2014 3:52 p.m.
Updated: May 12, 2014 5:00 a.m.
Gary Phillips/C-I

Lugoff resident Mary Schenk with photos of three of her grandchildren, from left, Johnny Lantz, Philip Carlson and Bethany Colboch. All three graduated from college over the weekend.

Millions of mothers across the Unites States and the world were recognized Sunday for their contributions to their families and to society as a whole. But one Lugoff mother and grandmother had three extra reasons to celebrate this Mother’s Day weekend. Mary Schneck had three grandchildren graduate from three separate universities, one Friday and two Saturday.

Schneck has three daughters, a son and 10 grandchildren. She includes her grandchildren’s spouses in that number, as she considers them to be hers, as well. Her daughter, Linda Carlson, lives in Lugoff and works in the family business, Alan’s Market on Longtown Road. Her son, Ralph Schneck Jr., is a Baptist minister in Lexington; daughter Lois Lantz is a teacher at a Christian school in West Palm Beach, Fla.; and youngest daughter Flora Colboch is married to a minister in Hartsville and works at the church’s school.

The graduating grandchildren are Linda’s son, Philip Carlson, from the University of South Carolina; Lois’ son, Johnny Lantz, Palm Beach Atlantic University; and Flora’s daughter, Bethany, from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. With all three graduating in different cities, Schenk had a hard choice to make, but went to the closest ceremony in Columbia.

“Since I live here, that’s where I’ll be,” Schenk said Thursday ahead of the graduations. “I’m proud of all of them that they made it through.”

Schenk and her husband, Alan, moved to South Carolina from central Florida when their children were young.

“We spent our growing up days in Florence where dad had a store called Orange Land with groceries and produce,” Ralph Schenk said. “They moved here 25 years ago. They were going to work at a boy’s home in Kershaw. When that closed, dad started over again here in Lugoff. He started from the back of a pickup truck, selling watermelons, tomatoes, all kinds of vegetables. He was always an entrepreneur so he started on the side of the street and as he grew he bought 14 acres.”

Mr. Schenk passed away in January, but the family continues the business. Mr. and Mrs. Schenk were married 55 years. Ralph said the graduations are not the only big events for the Schenk family this year.

“Her grandson, Joey, just got married March 22 and we’ll have another wedding May 24 -- my daughter, Hollie,” he said. “So it’s not only three graduations, but two weddings here in close proximity.”

May 24 was also Alan Schneck’s birthday.

Mary Schneck said she is especially proud of how her children serve God.

“Three of my children are in full-time Christian service and the fourth one is here running the business,” she said.

Ralph Schneck said his mother has always been supportive of her family, while shunning the spotlight for herself.

“Mom’s crown is that she’s always cheered her children on. She has always been behind them, encouraging them so they could become somebody for God,” he said. “That’s what makes her special.”


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