Katie Damron was born Laura Kathryn Combs on Nov. 12, 1928, in Betsy Layne, Kentucky. She was a daughter of Hettie Giliam Combs and Albert Ghent Combs, the fourth of five children. She died on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017.
She attended Pikeville College Academy and Pikeville College. Katie moved to Sumter in 1953, where she co-managed WSSC radio. She worked for Santee-Lynches Planning Council in the 1970s, as well as for Sumter County. She was active for many years in the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, where she worked with youth programs and served for a time as director of Christian education.
Katie is best known for her work as director of the Sumter Little Theatre, which was a large part of her life from 1955 to 2009. She developed the theatre's youth program and became a second mom to scores of children who credit her for helping them learn self-expression, increase self-confidence and develop talents. She directed more than 100 plays, including many new works, and was given permission to do the premier amateur production of August Wilson's Fences. She never shied away from work that challenged audiences to think. The arts were always the center of her life.
Katie loved to laugh and to argue politics with you. She loved her extended family (including the many children and adults she taught), her best friend Essie Mae Clark, her cat Pumpkin, and her adopted hometown of Sumter.
In 2014, the S.C. Legislature passed a resolution "congratulating and thanking Katie Damron for her decades of amazing contributions to the cultural life of Sumter" and a commemorative celebration of Katie's achievements was given at Patriot Hall.
Katie is survived by her three children, Pam Damron Knight (husband Henry F. Knight) of Keene, New Hampshire, Carla Damron (husband James R. Hussey) of Columbia and Ed Damron (wife Vidisha Mallik) of Malmoe, Sweden; her four grandchildren, Paul Knight, Laura Knight, Vincent Mallik Damron and Anja Mallik Damron; as well as two great-grandchildren, Parker Knight and Brady Knight. She is also survived by her sister, Edith Mae Stanley.
She was predeceased by brothers, Ghent, Dan Jack and Sam Paul Combs.
Memorial services will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Sumter with the Rev. Marcus Kaiser, the Rev. Charles Walton and the Rev. Cynthia Taylor officiating.
The family will receive friends following the service in Walker Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sumter Little Theatre, 12 Mood Ave., Sumter, SC 29150 or to Doctors Without Borders, USA, P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030, www.doctorswithoutborders.org
Online condolences may be sent to www.sumterfunerals.com.
Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of the arrangements, (803) 775-9386.