Elizabeth Bland Ariail DeLoache, 81, "Molly" to everyone who knew and loved her, passed away on Dec. 8, 2017, surrounded by her children, at Pebblebrook retirement community in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Molly loved life, loved to laugh, loved to dance. She loved God and lived with a steadfast faith that we all fit into his plan. Molly loved children, especially little ones. She taught Sunday school at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia for nearly 20 years, influencing a generation of children that, as adults, still talk about their "Miss Molly" experience. Molly loved animals. Dogs, birds, turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs - all found a home with her over the years. Most of all, Molly loved her cats. She always had a few cats, sometimes more than a few, and found great comfort in their company.

Molly loved her family. She was completely devoted to her children and delighted in her grandchildren, whom she unrepentantly spoiled. As a parent, Molly was selfless - no sacrifice was too great. Although she would play it down, Molly's combination of faith and humor, tempered by hard experience, made her brave and strong beyond her generation.

Molly was born on Jan. 6, 1936, in Laurens, to Sarah Elizabeth Bland and Robert Hodges Ariail. She grew up in Sumter, graduated from Sumter High School and attended Converse College and the University of South Carolina. After graduating, she started her family in Florence and then moved to Columbia, where she lived for 35 years.

Molly is survived by a brother, Robert B. Ariail; son, Charles W. Houck Jr. and wife, Michele; granddaughters, Sarah and Meg; daughter, Elizabeth Ariail Goehring-Houck; and grandsons, Asher and Finn.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday in the Chapel at First Presbyterian Church in Sumter with the Rev. Nick Cheek officiating.

The family will receive friends following the services at the church.

Burial will follow the visitation at Sumter Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to a local humane society.

Online condolences may be sent to www.sumterfunerals.com.

Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home & Crematory, 221 Broad St., Sumter, is in charge of the arrangements, (803) 775-9386.