Virginia Laffitte McCrae, 90, died peacefully on October 7, 2017 at Rock Hill Post Acute Care Center where she had been a resident for over three and one-half years. She was born on October 18, 1926, in Denmark, S. C., the daughter of Thomas Patterson McCrae of Denmark and Sarah (Sadie) Edwards Richards McCrae of Liberty Hill, where she spent her childhood and some of her adult life in retirement. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her brothers, John Richards McCrae of Spartanburg, S.C. and Stephen Richards McCrae and his wife, Miriam Cook McCrae, of Fort Mill and Rock Hill, S. C., and her niece, Susan McCrae Moore of Rock Hill, S. C.. She is survived by her nephews and nieces, Stephen R. McCrae, Jr. (Mindy) of York, S. C., John R. McCrae, II (Beth) of Fort Mill, Angela H. McCrae of Fort Mill, and Leslie W. Moore (widower of Susan) of Rock Hill,14 grandnieces and nephews, 9 great-grand nieces and nephews, and many beloved cousins. She was proud of and adored all her Richards clan relatives.
Virginia had a strong faith in God and was steadfastly loyal to the Presbyterian Church USA. A lifelong member of Liberty Hill Presbyterian Church, serving on the board of trustees of its cemetery association, she regularly attended other Presbyterian USA churches in towns where she was living at the time, including Bethesda Camden, Oakland in Rock Hill and First Presbyterian of York, and made and maintained many friendships in all those churches.
Deemed by those who knew her as a “character” in every good sense of that term, she was decidedly a people person and loved interaction with all she met, no matter their age, race, background, and political or religious affiliation. Attending the public schools of Camden, S.C., she maintained her many friendships made there until her death. That love of people was further borne out by her choosing a major of sociology at Winthrop College under the encouragement of her beloved life-long mentor, Professor Dr. Dorothy G. Jones, and, after college graduation, working for 30 years as a social worker for the State of South Carolina until her retirement in the early 1980’s. No one enjoyed retirement more than Virginia, and that was especially evident to those who encountered her annually at the Carolina Cup in Camden, making the rounds joyfully and engagingly in her medallion-bedecked hat. She loved parties and family celebrations, arriving to them often after having driven long distances in her VW bug accompanied by at least 3 of her coddled yipping miniature French poodles. She had a strong alto voice, singing in many choirs over the years. She also satisfied her love of music by attending frequently opera performances, chorales and classical music concerts, joining and maintaining her membership in a number of music clubs, spending many summers in Brevard Music Center where her brother was director of the Brevard Center Opera Workshop, and forming close and enduring friendships with professional opera singers and concert pianists all over the Country. She also found time to publicly show her love of the Carolina Gamecocks, wearing Gamecock decals even on her eyeglasses, and attending their football games in Columbia and on the road whenever she could scrape up the money for a bus ticket. She loved to travel with groups, especially to exotic places, such as Brazil. One of her ways to earn money in retirement to fund her travels was working as a court bailiff in both Kershaw and York Counties, which also satisfied her love of people in law enforcement and those who were called to serve on juries. She also was a perennial volunteer worker in the Republican Party on the local and State levels, in gleeful opposition to most of her McCrae family members whose political leanings are elsewhere.
Virginia took pride in her independence and self-sufficiency, becoming an ace markswoman with both a 12-gauge shotgun and a 22-rifle to the misfortune of any cottonmouth or squirrel she might encounter. Still, promoting her gentler side, she spent much enjoyable time doting on her beloved aunts, Misses Margarette and Bettie Richards and Mrs. Virginia Richards Sauls, in their retirement years at Springdale Village in Camden. Even during her declining last years, Virginia made many friends and enjoyed joking with the staff and other residents at Rock Hill PAC Center up until a week before her death. Virginia’s Family members are grateful, as she was, to the wonderful staff at Rock Hill (formerly Agape) PAC Center and Cathy Clinton of Agape Hospice for their competent and compassionate care of Virginia for almost four years.
A Christian service celebrating Virginia’s life will be led by her first cousins, Reverend James B. Bankhead and Reverend Ike Kennerly, at Liberty Hill Presbyterian Church, 18 Meeting Lane, off S. C. Highway 97, in Liberty Hill, starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, October 21, 2017. The family will greet visitors afterwards at the Bettie Richards Hall on the church grounds. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial gift to a Presbyterian Church USA congregation of one’s choosing.