Eva M. Lytch, affectionately known to her close family and friends as "Mae," entered eternal rest on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, at McLeod Hospice House, Florence.

She was born on Aug. 17, 1934, to the late Eva and Lawton James. Eva was the second oldest daughter of five children, the Rev. Lawton James (deceased), Dorothy McFadden, Carlisle James (deceased) and Carrie Joe (deceased). Eva grew up in Wisacky and Elliott. She attended Dennis High School and graduated as salutatorian of her class in 1954. She went on to attend Allen University in Columbia, where she was active on campus, traveling with the concert choir, pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and graduating with a bachelor's degree in chemistry with a minor in mathematics. After finishing Allen University, she completed some graduate studies at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg while working full time as a teacher and basketball coach at Dennis High School and Mount Pleasant High School in Lee County.

Upon a chance meeting at a football game at Morris College, Eva met the love of her life, Jack Lytch. Jack was drafted into the military in 1963 but he never forgot the beautiful teacher siting in the stands at that football game. He fortuitously sent Eva a set of engagement rings in the mail with a letter asking her to marry him and she said yes. That single gesture began the story of a lifetime. Eva and Jack married on Oct. 15, 1964. Eva and Jack traveled the world during Jack's early military career. After returning to the United States, they were stationed at several military bases across the country. In 1966, the couple welcomed their first child, Jackie, born in Sumter, and then soon after in 1969, Carroll, born in Tacoma, Washington. Samantha was born in 1975 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Eva taught math and science in each community the military stationed the family. She proudly spoke of being the first African-American teacher to integrate a school district in Tacoma. After the family moved to Elliott in 1979, Eva taught at Hartsville High School for close to 20 years. She retired in 1998 after 38 years of teaching. After retiring, Eva remained active in her community, serving two terms on the Lee County School Board and as an appointee to the Lee County Mental Health Board. Eva was a devoted member of New Zion AME Church, where she gave tirelessly of her time and charity to the Women's Missionary Board, the youth department, senior choir and church trustee board. Jack and Eva were blessed with their first granddaughter, Kiyah Lytch-Davidson, in 2004.

Our mother believed in excellence and held others and herself to a high standard. She was a complex and intelligent woman, who was strict but fair, loyal, devoted to her family and friends and could run a Bid Whiz table or "cut a rug" when the mood hit her. She loved life and lived it on her terms.

Eva waged a courageous fight with many physical ailments and was a survivor of two occurrences of breast cancer. She lost her battle with a neuro-cognitive disorder that at times took her memories but not her spirit or her dignity.

She leaves behind many who love her including her beloved daughters, Samantha Lytch (Ricky) Shaw of Elliott, Dr. Carroll Lytch, Jackie Lytch and granddaughter, Kiyah Lytch-Davidson, all of Charlotte; her adopted son, Kenneth Wilson (Junior); sister, Dorothy McFadden of Elliott; sisters-in-law, Kathryn Wilson of Charlotte, Patricia (Tillman) Bailey, Sarah Louise (Charles) Bass and Helen (Wilson) Hyman of Laurinburg, North Carolina; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and lifelong friends that she treasured.

The family is receiving relatives and friends at the home, 1640 Elliott Highway 527, Elliott.

Wake service will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. today at John Wesley Williams Sr. Memorial Chapel, Williams Funeral Home Inc., 821 N. Main St., Sumter.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday at New Zion AME Church, 78 Elliott Highway, Bishopville, with the Rev. Archie S. Temoney, pastor, eulogist.

The remains will be placed in the church at 10 a.m.

The procession will leave the home at 10:30 a.m.

Burial will be at the Florence National Cemetery, 803 E. National Cemetery Road, Florence.

These services have been entrusted to the management and staff of Williams Funeral Home Inc., 821 N. Main St., Sumter.

Online memorial messages may be sent to the family at williamsfuneralhome@sc.rr.com. Visit us on the web at www.williamsfuneralhomeinc.com.