Remembering those who passed away in 2009


A West Virginia native, Chip Atkins found his life's work in the gymnasiums and hallways of five S.C. high schools.

Atkins, who died of brain cancer on Oct. 10 at age 64, won 637 boys basketball games while coaching at Jackson, Allendale-Fairfax, Barnwell, Williston-Elko and Lower Richland.

He won two state championships coaching golf at Barnwell, one in 1989, the other in 1995.

He won 30 coach of the year awards between the two sports, including national high school basketball coach of the year in 2004.

Mostly, those who worked closest with him say, he positively impacted the lives of the young students in his charge, leaving a lasting legacy.

- Steve Wiseman


Life piled one tragedy after another onto Mertyse Lemons' shoulders, but the former model refused to buckle.

Her devotion to faith and family inspired hundreds of people who rallied to support Lemons and her family during her struggle with cancer.

When she died in November at age 38, more than 1,000 people attended her funeral at Columbia's First Nazareth Baptist Church.

"I didn't realize the impact she had until that morning when 1,000 people showed up at the church," said Pat Brown, Lemons' mother.

Lemons, a mother of six, was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in August 2007.

During the next 12 months, Lemons lost her husband to a heart attack and her home to a mountain of bills.

By November 2008, Lemons' cancer had spread to her liver and lungs.

Friends formed an organization called Lemons Aid to help with bills. The group also raised $15,000 to send Mertyse, her children and her parents to DisneyWorld for Christmas in 2008.

Now, Lemons Aid is raising money to help her parents, who have taken in her children. They need to convert their garage into a bedroom.

After Lemons died, family friend Brian Lee wrote in an e-mail, "For me personally, I have never met anyone who lived her faith like Mertyse, and the impact she had on my life can never be measured."

- Noelle Phillips


Wesley Crim, who got around on a basic bicycle, was a fixture in the Olympia neighborhood.

But Crim was on foot early one morning when he fell and hit his head, probably on the railroad tracks. He was hospitalized for nearly two months and died from complications from pneumonia at age 81.

Crim was a trusting fellow. He was a creature of habit, and he didn't talk much.

"He lived a simple life, and he was content with that simple life," his nephew, Dan Seibert, said.

Two of his favorite pastimes were mowing and doing laundry at the laundromat down the street.

Crim retired after 47 years with Pet Dairy. His job was to ride in the passenger seat and jump out to deliver milk.

He kept his trailer, near Olympia Avenue, neat as a pin. People dropped by often to check on him or share a plate of food. He always appreciated it.

- Dawn Hinshaw


Anne Pauline Hinton Newman, who died Sept. 17, 2009 at age 90, worked tirelessly, and often behind the scenes, to end segregation in South Carolina.

A graduate of Claflin College, she was married to the late Rev. I. DeQuincey Newman, a United Methodist minister and field director for the S.C. NAACP during the crucial decadeof the 1960s.

She became secretary of the state NAACP in 1960 to aid her husband, the pair braving legislative and societal roadblocks, and even death threats, as they worked to bring about peaceful integration.

Anne Newman gained notoriety in 1967 when she filed suit in federal court against Maurice Bessinger's Piggy Park sandwich shops, contending the drive-ins discriminated against blacks. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed a lower court and established precedent for payment of attorney's fees in civil rights cases.

A native of Covington, Ga., Newman taught school in Walterboro, Orangeburg, Charleston and Spartanburg while raising the couple's daughter. She lived to witness the fruits of her civil rights labors, including the swearing-in of her husband to the South Carolina Senate in 1983. He became the first African-American since Reconstruction to be elected to the chamber.

- Carolyn Click


It was among the most unusual processions to a funeral in S.C. history - and Richard Mikell would have loved it.

On July 18, about 30 vehicles with canoes or kayaks strapped to the top rolled out of the Riverbanks Zoo parking lot, took I-126 over the confluence of the Broad and Saluda rivers and turned into Elmwood Cemetery for Mikell's graveside service. Many of the drivers wore T-shirts, shorts and sandals, in honor of a man who spread his love for paddling the state's waterways through his Cayce business - Adventure Carolina.

Mikell, 62, helped with many groups - Friends of the Edisto, Women in Outdoor Recreation, Camp Burnt Gin, Camp Kemo and the Professional Paddle Sports Association. But it was in his unofficial role as pied piper for paddling that he introduced many of the local kayaking advocates to the sport and hired many of them as part-time guides.

"While many of us knew Richard, most don't know just how much he did behind the scenes," said longtime paddler Mandy Odum, who helped organize the procession. "His true passion was the rivers we all love. He worked tirelessly for the rivers and accesses we sometimes take for granted."

- Joey Holleman


Katherine Stallings Dunlap was working in a local school district office when then-Gov. James Byrnes persuaded her to join his staff in Columbia.

She would stay for 29 years and eight governors, retiring in 1980.

Dunlap died Oct. 11 at the age of 101.

Dunlap began as an administrative assistant in 1951 but proved she had a knack for financial management, serving as the fiscal affairs officer for eight administrations.

When James B. Edwards, a Republican, won a surprise election in 1974, Dunlap stayed on.

"She knew all the details necessary to get a job done and where to go for resources not easily found," Edwards told the Columbia Star. "Every chief officer dreams of having a Katherine Dunlap on his/her staff."

- John O'Connor


Mary Boykin Mustard DuVal, who died in August at age 94, was one of those people who gets things done.

Ordinary people get tired just reading DuVal's accomplishments - classroom teacher, junior high principal, assistant superintendent of education, founding board member of Historic Camden, organizer of the Camden Business and Professional Women's Club and member of numerous other civic groups.

"She was one of those extremely intelligent, erudite, interesting people," said Joanna Craig, director of Historic Camden. "She really left an impact."

DuVal, known to friends at Teene, was so angry about what she saw as an inequitable state school funding formula that she ran for the S.C. House of Representatives ... in 1950 and 1952.

Those elections are among of the few endeavors in which she was unsuccessful. But true to her take-charge nature, she still made her mark in politics as chairwoman of the Kershaw County Democratic Party.

- Joey Holleman


Though the son of a former Columbia mayor, Lester Bates Jr. cut his own legacy as a judge, civic activist and arts supporter.

Bates, who moved to Columbia when he was 3 weeks old, died Jan. 14 at age 77.

Bates' 46-year law career included 21 years as a Columbia Municipal Court judge - seven as chief administrative judge. During that time, Bates worked to overhaul state and local criminal domestic violence courts.

Bates was also an active member of Columbia civic groups, serving as president of the Columbia Rotary Club, board member of the Salvation Army and co-founder of what is now the S.C. Philharmonic Orchestra.

Among many honors, Bates was named South Carolina Judge of the Year in 2003 by a S.C. anti-domestic abuse group.

- John O'Connor


The Rev. Joseph and Eleanor Hollis were inseparable - even in death.

Joseph Hollis, who for 34 years pastored the Haskell Heights First Baptist Church, died Jan. 27.

The next day, his wife Eleanor, who had served faithfully by his side as first lady of Haskell Heights, followed him.

"Where he was, she was," said Pastor Glenn Wigfall, who replaced Hollis at Haskell Heights.

"That was the story of their life and their story in death."

Eleanor Hollis was born in 1929, and her husband was born in 1930.

At Haskell Heights First Baptist Church, on Blue Ridge Terrace just north of I-20, the two led their congregation by example, Wigfall said.

"One of the things he nurtured in me was that you stay above reproach, to make sure that your life preaches the best message, and then people will listen to you," Wigfall said. "One of his favorite things that he often said is people don't want to know how much you know until they know how much you care about them. That was kind of a philosophy for his ministry ... He would gain a listening ear."

- Adam Beam


Edna Schumpert ran her River Drive area hot dog and burger stand with an ethic developed from living through the Depression.

At Edna's No. 1 Drive-In, she kept her prices low while remaining for five decades in a building about the size of some backyard sheds.

Schumpert avoided big promotions, instead offering familiarity and friendliness to lure customers.

"The Depression left a mark on people," her husband, Raymond, said. "You thought more about responsibility, and she did."

Edna Schumpert died in August at age 81.

Her family ran a hot dog stand in Walhalla where she was born. But during World War II, Schumpert chose to come to Columbia to work at Fort Jackson.

Schumpert was working at a cotton mill when she decided in 1959 to open a hot dog stand. "It went pretty well right from the start," Raymond Schumpert said.

Edna charged 15 cents for a hot dog and 40 cents for a burger. "She was trying to make just enough money to live off of" her husband said. "She always tried to make it off of volume."

Schumpert worked most every day at her drive-in until about a decade ago, but she still stopped by a couple times a week to greet regulars and keep an eye on how employees treated them.

"She operated under the theory that people trade with you because they like you," Raymond Schumpert said.

"You've got to treat them like family."

- Andrew Shain


He may have gone to college to be an engineer, but former SCANA Corp. chief John Warren enjoyed making the sale.

"The salesman is the man that starts a lot of things in motion," said Warren, who died Aug. 24 at age 84. "I believe everybody's a salesman; the only question is whether they're a good one or a bad one."

A key South Carolina business leader for nearly four decades, Warren was credited with helping to bring economic development to the rural South after World War II and for his work with the late Gov. Carroll Campbell in recruiting businesses.

Warren rose through the ranks at SCANA and later served as the state's first commerce secretary at a salary of just $1 a year. He was a key figure in helping lure German automaker BMW to South Carolina in 1992 to build a plant near Greer.

"John Warren was a great unsung hero of economic development during the Campbell administration," said Bob McAlister, who was Campbell's chief of staff.

"He and the governor complemented each other. Carroll was the young, eager, energetic governor, and John was the wise, experienced counselor. Together they transformed South Carolina's economy."

- Chuck Crumbo