A Midlands pastor and law enforcement chaplain who died after a car crash last month will be eulogized Sunday.
The Rev. Paul Milton Cheezem Sr., 60, of Batesburg-Leesville, was involved in a single-car collision on I-20 near the Clemson Road exit on June 27 and died July 1.
Head injuries were the cause of death, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said. Investigators are still trying to determine if Cheezem suffered a medical event that contributed to the crash.
Cheezem ministered at Methodist churches around South Carolina since 1982, including Fair Lawn United Methodist Church in Columbia and Platt Springs United Methodist Church in West Columbia, according to the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Since 2014, Cheezem served at Nazareth United Methodist Church and Emory United Methodist Church in Saluda County.
A graduate of Clemson University and Duke Divinity School, Cheezem also was a chaplain for the Richland and Oconee county sheriff’s departments.
Besides his ministry, church officials said Cheezem’s passions in life were his family, friends, music and his motorcycle. The Rev. Stephen Love, superintendent for the Greenwood District of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, remembers how Cheezem frequently included his son, Paul Cheezem Jr., in his work.
“His dad always had him around,” said Love, who had known Cheezem for about 20 years. “I always thought that was really impressive that he incorporated him.”
Love said one of his favorite memories of Cheezem came from one of their weeklong conferences years ago.
“I pull up and get ready to get out of the car and then a motorcycle pulls up beside me with him and then his son on the back of it,” he said. “That was one of the first images I had of him as a father and how he related to his son.”
Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at Shandon United Methodist Church, 3407 Devine St. The family will receive friends in Player Hall after the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials for the Rev. Paul Cheezem Sr. may be made to:
· United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, 100 Centerview Drive, Suite 210, Birmingham, Ala., 35216
· Epworth Children's Home, 2900 Millwood Ave., Columbia, S.C., 29205