Sandra Groome Frick Hilton, a longtime resident of the Camden area, passed away Sunday the 14th of April at Karesh Long Term Care at the age of 83. She was born on August 9, 1935 in Columbia, S.C. as the only child to Frederick Wallace Groome Jr. and Mary Mack Edgar Groome. When she was 3 years old, her mother died, and her Uncle and Aunt, Frederick G. Franklin and Niecie Franklin, adopted and loved her. In Columbia, she was raised along with her three girl cousins, becoming life-long sisters.
Sandra attended Rosewood Elementary and graduated from Dreher High School in 1953. On a blind date she met Charles W. Frick, and later married on February 11, 1956. While living in Miami, Florida, they had three children, then the family returned to Columbia in 1965.
For many years, she was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church, and was currently a member of St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Camden.
Having earned a nursing LPN diploma and a Master’s in Special Education, she pursued her life’s passion with 29-½ years of teaching at Dent Middle School and Wildewood School in Columbia, Cherryvale Elementary and Pinewood School in Sumter, and Lugoff-Elgin Middle School. Among the exceptional children she taught, some were profoundly mentally handicapped and learning disabled. Along the way she was chosen Teacher of the Year at three different schools. Four grants allowed her to teach using the “life experience” approach, one which included a greenhouse growing seeds from space. Other inspirations for her students included taking trips to the Tea Plantation, helping her students win art contests across the state, taking a busload of her students for their first visit to the ocean, etc. One grant allowed her to research, write, and illustrate educational materials for elementary students on the cultivation of rice 200 years ago in Georgetown.
In moving to Camden, she met Stoney Hilton, owner of Hilton Artworks. Later they married on April 4, 1998, and resided in Camden. As for hobbies, Sandra competed in art projects and many shows across South Carolina, including the “Steel Palmetto Tree” project and the “Door” project. Searching for knowledge, teaching others, and creating artwork and writings allowed her to pursue her dreams. This is a bit of advice she passed along: “Being in love with words and their magic ... from my own wide and far ranging experiences: Enjoy ... read.” She also loved A. Einstein’s “Imagination will take you everywhere.”
She is survived by her loving and devoted husband, Stoney Hilton, her three children: Walter M. Frick (Stephanie), Robert D. Frick (Katie), Mary Catherine F. Eldridge (David), seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, numerous cousins and stepchildren. Memorial services will be held Thursday, May 2 at 11:00 in St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, 1301 Mill Street in Camden. In lieu of flowers, Sandra suggested possible memorial contributions given in her memory could be used for “feeding the hungry, providing shelter for those in need, and/or clothing as needed.”