Community members continue to mourn the loss of two women, both known to make others smile and as powerhouses in faith and in the churches where they served, after a deadly Conway bank robbery earlier this week.
Kathryn “Katie” Skeen, 36, of Green Sea, and Donna Major, 59, of Conway were shot and killed during a robbery at the CresCom Bank on the corner of U.S. Highway 501 and 16th Avenue in Conway Monday afternoon.
Thirty-two-year-old Brandon Michael Council of Wilson, N.C., told police he knew he was going to hurt somebody that day, according to an affidavit filed in federal court after Council’s arrest in North Carolina Wednesday.
Police say Council shot both victims, one who had hidden underneath a desk, multiple times before robbing the bank and fleeing in one of the victim’s cars.
“Everybody that I know of is numb, absolutely numb, because of this,” said Tracy Pickens, co-owner of The Haberdashery in downtown Conway.
They exemplified what hard work, dedication and community was by their daily walk in this world yet more so by their actions.
Travis Dannelly, Conway Chamber of Commerce board president
“We knew the girls. My business partner and I were on a business trip Monday and we stopped by the bank about 9:30ish,” Pickens said. “We talked to the girls and left. And then never saw the two of them again, so it’s mind-numbing.”
Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy said she used to enjoy the company of Skeen and Major on a weekly basis.
“I always left their place of business with added reason to smile and appreciate humankind. We all grieve that Conway has lost two very special friends,” she said.
“This is still a small town and you definitely don’t expect it here,” said Rebecca Condeluci, a realtor and Surfside resident who was in Conway for a closing Thursday. “I just feel bad for the families of the victims. It’s a horrible thing.”
Accounts have been set up for donations to the families of both Skeen and Major at CresCom Bank.
Advancing the Kingdom Church in Conway, where Skeen attended, set up an account for her children at the bank.
Everybody that I know of is numb, absolutely numb, because of this.
An account was also set up at the bank for Donna Major’s grandchildren by NewSpring Church in Myrtle Beach.
“Donna has been very loved by the people in our church,” said Kaleb Dees, a pastor at NewSpring Church, where Donna Major attended with her husband, Daniel Major. “They’ve been a part of our church since the very beginning. They’ve been an integral part in making an impact in people’s lives through our church.”
Dees said the congregation was shocked and deeply saddened by Major’s death.
“We loved her. She was extremely caring, extremely compassionate, extremely sacrificial,” Dees said. “We are grieving with the family.”
“Although we can grieve, we can also have hope because Donna had a relationship with Jesus and she lived a life that was in obedience to him and so that gives us hope and peace in the midst of all the pain that we’ve gone through the past couple of days,” he said.
Travis Dannelly, board president for the Conway Chamber of Commerce, worked directly with Skeen and Major at the CresCom Bank and noted they were “the finest ladies that have ever graced our world.”
We loved her. She was extremely caring, extremely compassionate, extremely sacrificial.
Kaleb Dees, a pastor at NewSpring Church
“They exemplified what hard work, dedication and community was by their daily walk in this world yet more so by their actions,” Dannelly said. “The tragic event that took them from us Monday will not be the lasting memory; the lasting impact and impressionable moments they had on their families, friends and community will be.”
Skeen grew up in Green Sea and worked as branch manager at the CresCom Bank.
“Skeen loved God, her family and her friends,” according to her obituary.
She is survived by her husband, Tracy Skeen, two sons, Noah and River Skeen, three brothers and many loving nephews, nieces and extended family.
Her funeral is set to be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Advancing the Kingdom Church at 1601 11th Avenue in Conway. Visitation was set for Thursday night at Johnson Funeral Home of Aynor.
Memorials can be made in Skeen's memory to Miles for Miles, 2683 Garner Road Aynor, SC 29511. Miles for Miles is a non-profit that focuses on school outreach and was created to honor the memory of Kenneth Miles Davis.
Major was born in Bergen County, New Jersey, according to her obituary.
In addition to her husband, she leaves behind a son, two daughters, grandchildren, a sister, two half-brothers and a half sister.
Major was “a sacrificial mother and grandmother and a devoted wife,” her obituary states. She was also an “avid quilter.”
Major will be laid to rest on Sunday. Services will be held at NewSpring Church on Waccamaw Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, with the viewing from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and the funeral at 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to Coastline Women’s Center.