Capt. Thomas B. Presley, 75, husband of Betty Carolina Presley, was born on Feb. 25, 1945, in Sumter, a son of the late Sammie Lee and Mary Presley Dunham. He departed this life on Thursday, July 16, 2020, at the Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital.
Capt. Presley received his education in the public schools of Sumter County and was a 1964 graduate of Lincoln High School, where he was a dedicated high school bus driver for three school years. Capt. Presley furthered his education by graduating from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and Central Carolina Technical College.
Capt. Presley's employment history included Town and Country Mobile Homes as an assistant superintendent and a production associate at Becton Dickinson Sumter Manufacturing Plant for several years. His greatest joy and love was his service to the Sumter City Police Department for 27 years, four months and 15 days. His awards and decorations included China-Gillard Officer of the Year, Mayor's Special Commendation, Palmetto Rotary Club, Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement, 11th Annual Freedom Fund, Vehicle Behavior, Employee of the Month, Hazardous Materials, Homicide Scene Investigations, Post Traumatic Stress, Search and Seizure and Legal Update. Captain Presley retired in June 2000 and became an entrepreneur by establishing his own businesses - Presley & Son's Construction, a catering business, and becoming a farmer extraordinaire. With the gift of planting, he became known as "a community giver." As he worked in his garden, he would say, "I just love to see things grow."
Capt. Presley was a committed member of the Beulah AME Church family, where he faithfully and actively served on the trustee board, Sons of Allen/ Men's Club, lay organization, budget committee, cemetery committee, finance committee, food service committee and a member of the church school department. He was well known for his cooking abilities and everyone looked forward to the church annual homecoming for his old-fashioned pit-cooked barbecue and dessert, specialty peach cobbler. Capt. Presley was also a devoted member to the brotherhood of Masons.
Capt. Presley leaves to cherish his precious memories: his wife of 55 years, Betty Carolina Presley; one daughter, Tiffany Danita Presley of Columbia; two sons, Thomas Lavern Presley (Linda) of Dumfries, Virginia, and Darren L. Harris (Celeste) of Roxboro, North Carolina; two grandsons, Teyon Jeremiah Presley (Melissa) and Tavian Ibra Presley, both of Dumfries; one granddaughter, Tasja Harris of Roxboro; one great-granddaughter, Teagan Harris of Roxboro; two aunts, Loretta Presley of Brooklyn, New York, and Loretta Dunham of Sumter; one very special niece, "Uncle" Brittany Washington of Sumter; two adopted granddaughters, Jakell Ealey and India Shaw of Sumter; one adopted great-grandson, Jayden Pugh of Sumter; seven sisters-in-law, Linda (Charles) Ludd of Los Angeles, California, Geraldine (James) McFadden, Annie Mae Benjamin, Shirley (Harold) Coleman, Lillie Mae (William) Gibson, Brenda (Reno) Isaac and Sandra (David) Hinnant of Sumter; two brothers-in-law, Willie Washington Jr. and William Washington of Sumter; nieces, nephews, and a host of other relatives and friends.
Capt. Presley was preceded in death by his parents and brother, James Earl Dunham.
Public viewing will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. today at Job's Mortuary.
Capt. Presley will be placed in the church at 10 a.m. on Wednesday for viewing until the hour of service.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Salem Chapel & Heritage Center, 101 S. Salem Ave., Sumter, SC 29150 with Dr. Robert Galloway presiding and the Rev. Gerald Richardson, eulogist. Interment will follow at Hillside Memorial Park.
The family will receive friends at the home, 1281 E. Calhoun St. Ext., Sumter, SC 29153. Face masks will be required.
Job's Mortuary Inc., 312 S. Main St., is in charge of arrangements.
Online memorials may be sent to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on the web at www.jobsmortuary.net.
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