Funeral services with full military rites to celebrate the life of Colonel (Ret) Joel Thomas Cassidy, of Camden, will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday July 20 at Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church in Camden, with burial to follow in Quaker Cemetery. Family received friends on Tuesday July 19th from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Kornegay Funeral Home, Camden Chapel. Memorials may be made in Mr. Cassidy’s memory to Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church, 1206 Lyttleton Street, Camden, SC 29020 or National Kidney Foundation, SC Chapter, 500 Taylor St., Suite 101, Columbia, SC 29201
Colonel Cassidy of Camden died surrounded by his family on July 17, 2011. He was born October 6, 1936, in Camden, S.C., to the late Chapman R. Cassidy Jr. and the late Clara Mae Sowell Cassidy.
COL Cassidy attended Bethune public schools where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball for four years. He attended Newberry and Coker Colleges, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. He taught and coached in the Kershaw County school system for several years.
COL Cassidy served his state and country for three years in the United States Army and for thirty-two years in the South Carolina Army National Guard. He was commissioned in 1962, Class 13 Palmetto Military Academy. He served as Platoon Leader, Company Commander, Senior TAC Officer Palmetto Military Academy, Commander of 251st Rear Area Operations Center (RAOC), Executive Officer and Deputy Commander 218th Infantry Brigade Separate (Mechanized), and as Mobilization Division Chief. He retired from the National Guard in 1991 at the rank of Colonel with state promotion to Brigadier General.
His military awards and citations include: United States Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserves Medal with two hourglasses, Army Service Ribbon, Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon with two devices, South Carolina Exceptional Services Medal, South Carolina Meritorious Service Medal, South Carolina Active Service Medal (30 years), and the South Carolina Governor’s Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster. He was inducted into the Palmetto Military Academy Hall of Fame on June 18, 1989.
For his service during Hurricane Hugo in 1989, COL Cassidy was one of ten National Guardsmen to receive the Palmetto Cross, South Carolina’s highest military award, given by Governor Carroll Campbell.
He began his state career in 1971 as a member of Governor John C. West’s staff; he served as the Director of the Office of Manpower Planning and Development. At the conclusion of the West administration, he was employed by the South Carolina Employment Security Commission as an executive assistant. During his career at ESC he held numerous supervisory and management positions. He retired in July 2000 as the agency’s Executive Director. While serving as Executive Director he chaired the following committees: Governor’s Military Assistance Council, South Carolina Occupational Information System (SCOIS), and Veterans Committee of the Interstate Conference of Employment Security Organizations (ICESA). He also held memberships on numerous state agencies’ coordinating committees, and was a graduate of the State Executive Institute. COL Cassidy was also awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service while serving as Chairman of the South Carolina Field Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
Upon his retirement in 2000, COL Cassidy was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian award, by Governor Jim Hodges, and the Palmetto Patriot Award by Adjutant General Stanhope Spears.
COL Cassidy was a devoted member of Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church where he held numerous positions including member of the Staff/Parish Relations Committee, the Administrative Board, Men’s basketball coach, and church school teacher. Throughout his life, COL Cassidy was a person of strong faith from which he drew courage and strength as he faced many health issues in recent years. He felt the prayerful embrace of his church family as well as those in the community of faith whose prayers and words of encouragement and concern always gave him a sense of peace as he faced each challenge. God’s presence in his life gave him a stalwart faith and a sustaining grace. Many have spoken of his kindness and fairness in dealing with others in both words and deeds. He was an exemplary role model for his children, his friends, his family, and all who knew him. Joel Cassidy was a true gentleman, in every sense of the word. His love for God, his family and his country shaped his life and provide comfort to his family.
COL Cassidy is survived by his wife of forty-eight years, Mickey Sullivan Cassidy; daughter and son-in-law Elizabeth Cassidy West and Joe West of Lexington; daughter and son-in-law Claire Cassidy Brewer and Bill Brewer of Columbia; grandson, Joseph Joel West of Lexington; sister and brother-in-law Sara Martha Winters and Rick Winters; nephew Scott Spencer and his wife, Laura; nieces Kimberly Winters and Melissa Winters; and one great-nephew and great-niece, all of Sarasota, FL; uncle and aunt Paul and Iva Sowell of Hartsville; and sister-in-law Margaret Sullivan Childs of Camden.
Also surviving are two nieces and their families who shared a mutually loving bond with Joel. They are Julie and Michael McCaskill and their daughter, Lauren, of West Columbia, and Laurie and Jamie Robinson and their sons Matthew and Parker, of Lugoff.
Kornegay Funeral Home Camden Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
On-line condolences may be sent to the Cassidy family at www.kornegayfuneral.com.