Scott Rumph Jr. was one of Sumter’s most successful entrepreneurs.
A 1949 graduate of The Citadel, he returned to Sumter after a stint in the service and began a business career that spanned more than 60 years.
“He was an astute visionary,” said Pat Sears, who worked for Rumph for many years. “From a business standpoint, he could assess people and situations and turn that into a business opportunity.”
His father, Scott Rumph Sr., was an Amoco Oil jobber. Upon his death, his son and widow took over the business, Sumter Petroleum Company.
From there, the younger Rumph created nothing less than a business empire, founding and growing companies such as Palmetto Gas Company and Sumter Transport Company.
Sears said Rumph was a man of great integrity.
“To him, a deal was a deal and he would make a deal on a handshake,” Sears said. “If it didn’t turn out, he would take his lumps with everybody else.”
Item archivist and local historian Sammy Way said he was always impressed by the entrepreneur.
“I was an admirer of his accomplishments and involvement in the community,” Way said. “He was always very kind and willing to help people.”
He said Rumph always wore a smile.
“He could remember what you did and made you feel positive about yourself,” he said.
Rumph was involved in his community and was generous with his giving. He was a frequent contributor to The Item’s Fireside Fund and donated a generous amount of money to Sumter Cemetery, where he was a board member.
Rumph was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy Broadwell Rumph, and a son, Edwin Broadwell Rumph. He is survived by a daughter, Emily Rumph Bourgeios; two sons, Scott Winfield Rumph III and Robert Maitland Rumph, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Sears said Rumph was always meticulous about his business operating within regulations.
“He always had to deal with a lot of regulatory agencies, and he could use those agencies as references because he always made sure his companies stayed within the law,” Sears said.
Though Rumph sold Sumter Transport in December 2015, Sears said he never officially retired.
“He stayed involved in all of his businesses,” Sears said.
He was more than just a businessman, he said.
“I enjoyed doing business with him, and he was a great father figure to me,” Sears said.
Scott Rumph was also a neighbor and longtime friend of Mayor Joe McElveen.
Rumph was a brilliant business man, McElveen said, who had many ideas that were well ahead of the times.
Despite his longtime battle with illnesses, Rumph managed to stay positive, and, in doing so, encouraged the people around him to do the same.
"I always wondered how he kept on going, but he did," McElveen said.
Rumph was passionate about Sumter and making it a better place for citizens and visitors, he said.
A memorial service for Rumph will be held at on Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church.