Mortuary ambulance service discontinued; 117-year-old dies in Clarendon hospital

Posted 6/17/18

75 YEARS AGO - 1944

Jan. 8 - Jan. 14

- Sumter High School's basketball team opened the 1944 season but was pushed to win from the 454th Squadron five from Shaw Field. The final score was 20 to 16. Trailing 11-14 at intermission, the Gamecocks …

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Mortuary ambulance service discontinued; 117-year-old dies in Clarendon hospital


75 YEARS AGO - 1944

Jan. 8 - Jan. 14

- Sumter High School's basketball team opened the 1944 season but was pushed to win from the 454th Squadron five from Shaw Field. The final score was 20 to 16. Trailing 11-14 at intermission, the Gamecocks put up a strong defense in the last half, holding the soldiers to two points. Jones, Hughes, Stroman and Moise did all the scoring for Sumter while Pressley, Scarborough, Levi, Booth and Bryan played good defensive ball. Thompson was the hottest player for the visitors, scoring 6 points to lead his team. Sumter will play Camden there Friday night.

- Staff Sgt. Harold Knute Delk, 22, of Charleston, engineer and top turret gunner on a Flying Fortress at an Eighth A. A. F. bomber station, returned from a recent mission over Nazi Europe to discover he was "missing in action." An official report, listing Delk and his crew missing, had been filed when their big bomber failed to come back to base with the rest of the formation. Flying his eleventh attack against German targets, the Charleston airman recounted how engine trouble forced his ship to leave formation on return from an attack against enemy installations in southern France.

- The flyers who took their training at Shaw and have gone on into combat are all "following the prop-wash" of the aviator - Lt. Ervin David Shaw of Sumter - for whom Shaw Field was named, according to the cadets of Class 44-C, the senior class nearing the end of their training period at the Air Forces Training Command's basic flying. In a salute to Shaw Field as it enters the third year of operation, the Class 44-C edition of the cadet magazine, "High Pitch," which has just been distributed at the base, proclaims the accomplishments of the men who were here yesterday and are today doing the big job over there.

- Claudie Arrau, colorful Chilean pianist, who will be heard at Columbia Township Auditorium on the evening of Jan. 18, the third presentation of the Columbia Music Festival season, has skyrocketed to the top brackets of concert attractions in the United States. Not in a decade has a new pianist made such a quick impression. A brilliant Carnegie Hall recital first focused attention on him in 1941. Since then the demand for him has been great. In the 1942-43 season, he made 69 appearances - the largest tour of any concert artist during the year and the biggest piano tour since Paderewski. Though little known in the United States prior to 1941, Arrau enjoyed wide popularity n Europe and South America, averaging about 125 engagements a year.

- The Shaw Field All-WAC - the girls who are doing man-sized jobs at the best flying school - broke into the sports life at the base this week. The WACs pooled their stars and entered the military bowling league. Shaw Field has an extensive sports program with boxing, wrestling, handball, basketball and bowling tournaments underway this season. Bowling is the first phase of sports in which the women soldiers are taking an active part. Led by Pvt. June Gehan, five teams of WAC bowlers reported to the Post Exchange alleys and showed some of the G.I.s a thing or two about the game. They compete for cash prizes similar to those offered to their masculine counterparts.

- Sumter Steam Laundry sent many cartons of cigarettes at Christmas to fighting men overseas. One of the packages happened to reach a South Carolina boy who formerly worked in Sumter. His letter of appreciation follows.

Sumter Steam Laundry,

Sumter, S.C.


Just a line to thank you for the cigarettes I received on this Christmas Day. Each fellow in our unit received a pack. As my home is so near Sumter, I thought it would be appropriate to drop you a line of thanks.

My home is in Kershaw, S.C., and I once worked in Sumter. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very prosperous New Year. The boys on the fighting fronts know that all the folks back home are behind them one hundred percent. So, keep up the good work and before so very long, everyone will be back and enjoying peace once more.

Sincerely, Pfc. Willie C. ("Bill") Horton

- Lt. Francis Ewing Gibson Jr. has been seriously injured overseas, according to word received from the War Department by his wife in Allendale. No details were given, and it is not known whether Lt. Gibson was in action when injured. He is stationed in India. Lt. Gibson, former Sumter High School and Presbyterian College football star, received his commission at the Fort Benning, Georgia, Officer Candidate School and is in the infantry. He was attending Presbyterian College when he entered the service.

50 YEARS AGO - 1968

Sept. 8 - 14

- Forty-five water and wastewater plant operators from throughout South Carolina are attending a 1968 Short School at Clemson University at Sumter. The two-day school, sponsored by the South Carolina Water and Pollution Control Association in conjunction with Clemson University, is designed to review correspondence materials the operators have been studying through the continuing education program of Clemson's Environmental Systems Engineering Department.

- Jim M. Cherry Sr., associate executive secretary of the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina, will speak before the Sumter Lions Club at their meeting. A native of Sumter, he is a graduate of Furman University and received his M.A. degree in Organization and Administration of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

- The Item has a new sports editor. He's Charles Paschal, 28, formerly sports editor of the Sanford, North Carolina, Herald. Paschal, who assumed his new duties, replaces Doug Nye, now with the Charleston Evening Post. A native of Biscoe, North Carolina, the new sports editor is a graduate of Biscoe High School, where he lettered in three sports for three years. He received the Associate of Arts degree from Lees-McRae Junior College, Banner Elk, North Carolina, and attended the University of North Carolina.

- The City Police Department will rigidly enforce the speed limits on Calhoun Street in the vicinity of McLaurin Junior High School, according to Police Chief L. W. Griffin. Chief Griffin said that there have been reports recently of fast driving on Calhoun Street during the time when students are going to school and letting out for the day. The public is urged to observe the speed limits on Calhoun Street between Church and Salem Streets.

- Sumter Area TEC, in cooperation with the National Safety Council, is offering a course in defensive driving. The National Safety Council's defensive driving course has been designed to help develop better and safer drivers. Good driving results from a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes. It includes knowing the rules of the road, the characteristics of the car, a driver's limitations and those of other drivers. It also involves skill in handling an automobile in a variety of driving situations.

- City Council was presented with a revised $254,000 estimate as the cost of constructing a new city fire department building, to be located on the northwest corner at the intersection of Magnolia and Hampton Streets. Council officially rejected a bid of $342,660 made by ECB Construction on Aug. 20 because the bid was far in excess of the $225,000 originally estimated as the cost for building the 13,200-square-foot structure.

- A nearly packed house of parents and persons interested in District 17's school zoning plan for next year listened and added comments - some emotional - of their own at the open meeting at the Edmunds High School auditorium. Loud applause greeted school board chairman John W. Godbey's assertion that the freedom of choice plan now being used is "the most fair and democratic" and his promise that "if we can do so, we plan to return to it." Godbey, in explaining why the board worked up a new zoning plan for 1969-70, said the Department of Health, Education and Welfare told school officials that the present freedom of choice plan was not in compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or with guidelines pertaining to desegregation of the schools.

- A program designed to help small businessmen, which was developed by Sumter TEC, the Sumter Chamber of Commerce and the SBA, will be offered at TEC this fall, featuring instruction of five topics by leading authorities in each field. The classes will meet one night a week for three hours, and the total cost for the five sessions will be $10.

- The first time Alice Drive Junior High got its hands on the football it scored - which reflects the trend of the Hawks' 34-0 whitewash of Lamar at Memorial Stadium. It was the opening game for Alice Drive. The Hawks rolled up 240 yards rushing while holding Lamar to only 41. Alice Drive had 327 total yards to only 59 for the visitors.

- Lt. Col. Mary C. O'Neill retired at Shaw last week after a long and distinguished career as an Air Force nurse. Col. O'Neill has been chief nurse at the 363rd Tactical Hospital since August 1966. She entered the Army Nurse Corps in May of 1944 and received her basic training at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin; from July 1944 until June 1945, she served as a general duty nurse with the 102nd General Hospital in England.

- Highway travel in Sumter and adjacent areas is being expedited and made safer through major projects recently completed or now underway. The principal earthmoving project now underway is in Wateree Swamp where the present two-lane highway is being converted into a modern, four-lane divided freeway for four miles by the construction of a parallel roadway.

- The Fellowship Club, a club for social rehabilitation, sponsored by the Sumter County Mental Health Association, celebrated its fourth birthday in August. Former members of the Fellowship Club were invited guests. The group meets weekly at the YMCA, having formerly met at the Burns Educational Building. Members make arts and crafts under the direction and supervision of Mrs. Myrtis Logan, Mrs. Marion Pitts and Mrs. Ginny Jones. Materials are furnished by the Sumter County Mental Health Association.

- Fifteen area funeral homes - nine in Sumter and six in Clarendon County - have announced their intentions to discontinue all forms of ambulance service as of Jan. 1, 1969. Their decision was prompted, they explain, by "the continued rising cost of operation, the duplication or overlapping of services, the imposition of new federal restrictions and the resultant financial loss incurred. It is impossible for us to continue to render ambulance service in the manner which we feel the people of our communities deserve," a spokesman for the 15 mortuaries has said.

25 YEARS AGO - 1993

June 11 - 17

- Members of Willow Grove A.M.E. Church are up in arms about a mining company's plan to expand its operations to just across the street from the church as close as 100 yards from the church's graveyard. The Cheraw-based Becker Minerals Inc. has blasted sand and gravel from the ground since 1985 at its Hasskamp Mine, a strip-mine quarry on Horatio-Hagood Road in northwestern Sumter County, primarily for the construction of roads. The 484-acre site, which includes processing plants for sand and washed gravel, is located about a half-mile south of Horatio, a rural community of several hundred.

- All baseball players go through periods where the ball looks as big as a pumpkin coming to the plate. A whole team being in that type of zone is unheard of, but that's what is happening to the Sumter P-15's right now. Sumter continued its torrid hitting, pounding out 14 hits and scoring in each inning to defeat Manning-Santee 13-3 in an American Legion contest at Riley Park that was called after seven innings due to the 10-run rule. The P-15's, who improved to 3-0, came into the game with a .371 batting average. They are now batting .402 after getting 14 hits in 30 at-bats. Sumter is 37-for-92 as a team.

- Wanted: a nice 2,500-square-foot building, preferably in the downtown Sumter area. Owner must be willing to sell cheaply or lease at nominal price or to donate for a worthy cause. The Sumter County Chapter of the American Red Cross is less than six weeks away from being homeless, and - unless things turn around soon - less than six months from shutting down its operations entirely. Executive Director Mike Burkhart said the local Red Cross chapter is suffering from a combination of the national recession and the burgeoning Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce. The Red Cross' 34 E. Calhoun St. office sits on the site where the chamber's new offices will be built.

- Luke Blackwell, born when Ulysses S. Grant was president, died Thursday afternoon at Clarendon Memorial Hospital, holding the hand of his 36-year-old great-granddaughter. Blackwell was 117 years old. Family documents show Blackwell was born May 5, 1876, said his great-granddaughter, Bobbie Jean Frierson. That was the same year in which Col. George A. Custer died at the Battle of the Little Big Horn and Mark Twain published "Tom Sawyer."

- Seven years ago, a group of concerned Lowcountry duck hunters and conservationists decided that they could no longer wait for the federal government, Ducks Unlimited or similar groups to enhance the duck population in South Carolina. Sure, the other groups were doing a good job of combating declining numbers of waterfowl and still do, but the results just didn't seem to be showing up in South Carolina. The South Carolina Waterfowl Association was born. A nonprofit organization, SCWA receives all of its money from wood duck landowner grants, fall fundraising events, corporate sponsors and its members. All the money that is collected stays right here in South Carolina to provide for waterfowl and wetland conservation.

- The Morris College Office of Career Planning, Cooperative Education and Placement affords students the opportunity to "test drive" their chosen careers as undergraduates with employers from the public and private sectors and introduces students to research opportunities which will better prepare them for the rigors of graduate study at graduate schools throughout the United States.

- Five members of the Central Carolina Technical College faculty have been selected to receive National Institute for State and Organizational Development Awards for 1993. The faculty members chosen are Nancy Bishop, Cheryl B. Davids, Barbara E. Wells, Laurie L. Harden and Myrtis Knotts. They represent programs in Environmental Engineering Technology, the Math and Science Department, Computer Technology, Associate Degree Nursing Program and the Automotive Technology program.

- As he nears the midway point of his first full season as promoter of Sumter Speedway, Paul Byrd has made a few important discoveries. No. 1 - Promoting a race track requires a considerable amount of time and hard work. No. 2 - No matter what he does, somebody is always going to be mad at him. No. 3 - For the time being, at least, it's not a particularly profitable endeavor. All in all, though, Byrd said he thinks he is learning the ropes of the promoting business and making gradual progress toward building the speedway into the type of enterprise he hoped it would be when he took it over from former promoter Bobby Sisson.

- Facts about the USS Sumter: - Launched Dec. 13, 1969, at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Christening the ship was Nancy Thurmond, wife of U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond. - Two other ships have borne the name Sumter. The first was a Confederate ram captured by a Union flotilla in fighting at Memphis, Tenn., in 1862 during the Civil War. The second was a 14,000-ton attack transport that saw action in the Pacific in WWII. - The Sumter cost $30 million. - The Sumter is 522 feet long and displaces 8,000 tons. - The Sumter was the third of the 'Newport' class of amphibious assault ships designed to replace the slower, blunt-nosed tank landing ships of WWII. It was designed to maintain a cruising sped of 20 knots that would enable it to keep up with other ships of an assault force. - The Sumter and its sisters were designed to be major elements in amphibious assaults. They could transport and land tanks, combat vehicles, equipment and troops on a beach or causeway. - The Sumter completed its last voyage in April.

- An old acquaintance of his parents and pure chance got Sumter High School's Zeke Lynam on the Hungry Neck Sidekicks under-16 classic soccer team. Now he and his teammates are playing for a shot at a national title. The Charleston-based Sidekicks won the under-16 South Carolina state title and will represent the state in the Southeast Regional of the Niotis Cup Championship in Jackson, Miss. The winner of the regional will advance with three other regional champions to the national finals in Arizona.