Candidates for Forest Acres City Council met with voters Tuesday night on the eve of an election that, for the first time in decades, will not list Charlie Fetner’s name on the ballot.
Fetner, 82, died earlier in the day at his suburban home.
His health had been failing for several months, and he did not file for re-election this spring.
“We give an awful lot of thanks to Charlie for his many years of service,” organizer Frank Dropla said, taking a moment before introducing the six candidates to announce news of Fetner’s passing.
Seated in 1977, Fetner was one of the council’s longest-serving members.
Mayor Frank Brunson said he will be remembered most as a gentleman.
He shined at events such as the Forest Acres Classic baseball tournament, Brunson said, when he proudly served as host to the town he loved.
“He would always make sure that people felt welcome, whether they were coming from across town or from across the street,” the mayor said.
In 2012, the most valuable player award at the classic was renamed the Charlie Fetner Award.
“Charlie was an incredible baseball fan,” said Coach Andy Hallett, founder of the A.C. Flora High School-based tournament. “He loved the game and he was one of our biggest supporters, for our program and for our kids.
“We wanted to make sure he would be recognized and remembered in this part of town for his dedication.”
Fetner’s name came up more than once at a community meeting introducing voters to the largest field of candidates in memory.
About 75 people crowded the fellowship hall at the St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church.
The election is Tuesday. There are two seats on the ballot – one held by Fetner for the past 35 years.
Most of the candidates have long ties to Forest Acres, a suburban community of 10,500 at the edge of Columbia.
• Ralph Bailey, 63, retired from the S.C. National Guard as commander of the McCrady Training Center
• Jack Cantey, 48, who works for a general contractor
• Albert Epstein, 34, an executive with a filing-systems company
• Paige B. George, 33, a lawyer
• Roy A. “Beau” Powell Jr., 64, a home-builder and member of the Forest Acres Planning Commission
• Shell Suber, 78, a 40-year veteran of the council and a retired lawyer.
The top two vote-getters win.
Arlene Jensen said hearing the candidates helped her settle on who to vote for Tuesday. “I think I changed my mind a little bit by coming.”
Reach Hinshaw at (803) 771-8641.