Those we lost in 2020
By John C. Stevenson
From a high-flying actor to an adventuring entrepreneur who circumnavigated the globe, South Carolina saw several of its most respected and memorable favorite sons and daughters pass away during 2020. Hailing from the Lowcountry to the Upstate, each of these individuals left an indelible mark on the Palmetto State and will be remembered for generations.
Chadwick Aaron Boseman
Nov. 29, 1976-Aug. 28, 2020
Actor and Anderson native Chadwick Boseman had the breakout role of a lifetime in 2018, when he led the cast of Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther” with a performance that elevated the already-successful actor to superstar status.
Sadly, it would be Boseman’s last starring appearance on the silver screen before he succumbed to cancer in 2020.
The actor, producer and writer’s meteoric rise to the heights of the entertainment industry was a far cry from his working-class upbringing in Anderson, the youngest of Carolyn and Leroy Bosemans’ three sons. While still a student at T.L. Hanna High School, Boseman wrote his first play, “Crossroads,” which was later performed at the school.
After high school, Boseman attended Howard University, graduating in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. While at Howard, Boseman studied under actress Phylicia Rashad, who, along with Denzel Washington, would help the young Boseman enter the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer at Oxford Program at Oxford University, in England.
After returning from England, Boseman moved to New York City, where he kicked off his career with a variety of acting and directing jobs. His 2006 script “Deep Azure” was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Equity Award for New Work. He also wrote, produced and directed 2007’s short film “Blood Over a Broken Pawn,” which was recognized at the 2008 Hollywood Black Film Festival.
While still living in New York, Boseman became a familiar face thanks to steady appearances in a number of television shows, including “Law & Order,” “Third Watch,” and “ER.” He made his big-screen debut with 2008’s “The Express: The Ernie Davis Story,” the same year he moved to California to pursue more movie roles.
Boseman would enter the national zeitgeist with the 2013 film “42,” in which he played baseball legend Jackie Robinson. He followed with several more leading roles, including star turns as other trailblazing Black men such as James Brown in 2014’s “Get On Up,” and a young Thurgood Marshall in 2017’s “Marshall.”
Boseman was diagnosed in 2016 with Stage III colon cancer, and was receiving treatment even while filming “Black Panther.” He is said to have shared his struggle with only a handful of family members, and his death sent shockwaves through not only his legion of fans worldwide, but the entire entertainment industry.
Boseman’s final appearance will be in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which was slated for a limited theatrical run prior to moving to the Netflix streaming service.
Jasper Marshall Dye II
Jan. 18, 1928-March 10, 2020
Mississippi transplant Jasper Marshall Dye II came to South Carolina through his work in the insurance industry, and his visionary leadership continues to influence employee compensation to this day.
Dye began a lifetime of service at 17, when he joined the Navy. He served as a sonar specialist, hunting submarines in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during World War II. He was called back into service during the Korean War, when he served as a sonar instructor training newly enlisted sailors to hunt submarines.
After his service in the Navy, Dye earned an MBA from the University of Mississippi, and began a career at Provident Life and Accident (now UNUM). The insurance business would bring Dye and his wife of a decade, Barbara Nell Miller Dye, to South Carolina’s Upstate in 1966.
Dye is credited with expanding Provident Life and Accident’s footprint across the Carolinas, where, through his efforts, the company provided coverage and administration to a host of leading textile and manufacturing concerns, including Michelin North America, Alice Mills, Regal Textile, Bowater and Spartan Mills.
In 1980, Dye worked with another Palmetto State business luminary, Roger Milliken, to design and implement one of the first voluntary payroll-deducted employee-benefit programs in the United States. Dye is remembered today as a leader in the voluntary-employee-benefits segment of the insurance industry.
When Provident Life and Accident began to withdraw from South Carolina, Dye took on a new role as insurance broker, and began a relationship with Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina.
As a broker, Dye would found the Insurance Applications Group Inc. of Greenville, which was ranked in 2016 as “the second-fastest-growing, large-group brokerage in the U.S.” by Employee Benefit Advisor. He would serve as IAG’s president and CEO.
Dye’s work for others’ well-being wasn’t limited to his efforts within the insurance industry. He was also known for his altruism, and frequently made donations to charities and individuals in need, often anonymously, according to his obituary. Two of his favorite charities according to his friends and family were Boys Town and Meals on Wheels.
William Hayne Hipp
March 11, 1940-Aug. 27, 2020
A third-generation Greenville native, W. Hayne Hipp will be remembered as much for his philanthropic activities as he will be for the 27 years he spent at the helm of Liberty Corp.
Liberty was founded in 1919 as an insurance company by Hayne Hipp’s grandfather, W. Frank Hipp. Under the Hipp family’s leadership, Liberty would grow beyond its original roots in insurance into a media conglomerate, which, at its peak, owned 15 network-affiliated TV stations throughout the Midwest and Southeast, including NBC affiliates in both Columbia and Florence.
Liberty Corp. also had extensive investments in additional media interests, as well as in real estate and technology ventures, according to Hipp’s obituary.
But it was his leadership in the community that earned Hipp the respect and admiration of residents around the Palmetto State. Among his many efforts to ensure equal opportunities for all South Carolinians, Hipp helped found the Greenville Urban League (now the Urban League of the Upstate) and the Alliance for Quality Education (now the Public Education Partners).
He also served on a number of local, state and national boards, according to his obituary.
Hipp received a variety of recognitions honoring his lifetime of contributions to the state and its people, chief among them the prestigious Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor. The Order of the Palmetto was bestowed on Hipp in 2002 by then-Gov. Jim Hodges. He was also presented with the honorary key to the city of Pawleys Island for his efforts in that coastal town.
In 2009, Hipp was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame, in a class that included Joe Edens and Robert E. McNair.
Hayne Hipp left his stamp on Greenville in another unique and indelible way. The Hipps – Hayne and Anna Kate Reid Hipp, his wife of 57 years – were critical to the creation of the Liberty Bridge in Falls Park, which has become a defining part of downtown Greenville since it opened in 2004.
In 2003, the Hipps worked with the Aspen Institute to cofound the Liberty Fellowship, which, according to its website, “moves South Carolina forward through its greatest asset – its leaders.”
Hipp was also known for his love of the outdoors. In 2013, he completed his conquest of the 2,164-mile Appalachian Trail. He was 73 when he notched the accomplishment.
Joseph George “Joe” Mahaffey Sr.
June 10, 1939-Aug. 15, 2020
Greer native Joe Mahaffey founded a business that has helped thousands of average folks file their income-tax returns, then went on to serve as a member of South Carolina’s General Assembly for three terms.
Mahaffey was born on a farm in Greer. He would never know his father, Joseph Madison “Mack” Mahaffey, who died while Joe was an infant.
After graduating from Byrnes High School, Mahaffey attended Clemson, from which he graduated in 1964 with a degree in textile management. He used his degree and enjoyed a successful career working in the textile industry in both South Carolina and Tennessee.
In 1971, Mahaffey left the textile industry, and he and his wife Alinda founded M&M Income Tax Service. According to the company’s website, the business was a response to “the needs of people with uncomplicated tax returns.” Control of the company passed to the Mahaffeys’ son Joseph G. Mahaffey Jr. in 1995, and today the company thrives with more than 35 locations around the state that employ more than 400 tax professionals who serve both individuals and small- to medium-size businesses, according to its website.
Ever the entrepreneur, in the early 1980s Mahaffey developed the Pick-A-Flick Video Store chain, which would grow to include more than 50 stores in the 1990s.
By 1996, Mahaffey had retired from business and divested himself of both M&M Income Tax Service and the Pick-A-Flick chain. He then turned his attention to raising cattle on the Greer farm where he had been born. As the new millennium dawned, Mahaffey turned to politics as a way to serve the people of South Carolina, and was elected to the state House of Representatives, where he served three terms representing the people of Spartanburg County’s House District 36.
Mahaffey’s service to the community wasn’t limited to politics. He also served as president of the Golden Strip Civitan Club, as well as on the North Greenville University Board of Advisors, the Middle Tyger Community Center Board of Directors, and the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Village at Pelham Board of Visitors.
Edward Dunn “Ned” Sloan Jr.
June 20, 1929-Oct. 27, 2020
Upon Ned Sloan’s death in October, the Editorial Board of the Myrtle Beach Sun News wrote that he “battled for citizens to know how public officials used power and taxpayers’ money,” and went on to say “Sloan was a gadfly in the classic sense. And he was proud of it.”
Sloan was a legend among the bureaucrats and politicians in Columbia and around the state, but before he founded the S.C. Public Interest Foundation, Sloan had already enjoyed a successful career in the paving business.
Sloan was born in Greenville, where he attended public schools. He graduated in 1950 with a degree in civil engineering from The Citadel.
From 1952-84, he managed Sloan Construction Co. during a lengthy period of expansion in its history. Under Ned Sloan’s guidance, the then-family-owned business expanded its core asphalt paving operation to other Southeastern states and overseas. Sloan was also engaged in hydroelectric generation and mariculture, according to his obituary.
After his retirement from the paving industry, Sloan shifted his focus to the workings of state and local governments, and he launched a lengthy crusade for transparency and accountability in government. To accomplish his goals, Sloan founded the South Carolina Public Interest Foundation in 2005. According to the foundation’s website, it was Sloan’s belief “that insufficient attention is being given to the letter of the law by elected officials, governments, agencies and their officers.”
Sloan became well known around the state as someone who would use the power of the courts to shine a light when he felt the public was being kept in the dark. Through the years, his targets included Clemson University, the state’s General Assembly, the Greenville Hospital System, several school districts, the state Department of Transportation and the state Budget and Control Board, according to The Sun News article. Among his chief concerns were defending the Constitution, procurement, permitting, ownership of non-tidal submerged land, use of public funds for private purpose, and dual office holding.
Sloan also worked directly to be a part of the solution. He was the chairman of Erskine College from 1973-78; a member of the Board of Trustees of Converse College; and an officer of several historical societies, trade associations and advisory boards.
George Michael “Mike” Briggs
March 6, 1951-July 28, 2020
Mike Briggs was a Midlands business leader in the sense that he spent decades working to lead businesses to the central region of the Palmetto State.
A native of High Point, North Carolina, Briggs would leave the Tarheel State to attend the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where he graduated with a degree in political science.
Throughout his professional career, Briggs worked to spread the word about economic opportunities in the Midlands. As president and CEO of the Central SC Alliance from 1997-2020, he led an organization that, according to its website, is a public-private venture “on a mission to cultivate and nurture the prosperity of the people and place we love.”
The organization serves eight Midlands counties: Calhoun; Clarendon; Fairfield; Kershaw; Lexington; Richland; Newberry; and Orangeburg, in addition to the city of Columbia.
For his efforts with the Central SC Alliance, Briggs was honored in 2018 by Columbia Business Monthly as one of the “50 Most Influential People in 2017.”
In addition to his work with the CSCA, Briggs was also a member of the Midlands Business Leadership Group, worked with the Central Midlands Council of Governments, and sat on the Richland Two Institute of Innovation Advisory Board and the Congaree Land Trust Leadership Council. He was also a member of the South Carolina Economic Developers Association and the International Economic Development Council.
Promoting the Midlands was not Briggs’ only professional passion. He also served as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, where he taught in the political science department.
Briggs’ desire to serve others was also evident in his Christian faith. He and his wife Lilla Ann were active members for four decades in Shandon Methodist Church, where Mike Briggs taught youth and adult Sunday school classes. In 1998 he became involved in youth group counselling at the church, and was involved in several youth mission project trips, including trips to Hollywood, South Carolina, where he helped build and repair homes.
Joseph Allen Edens
July 4, 1941-Feb. 2, 2020
Columbia native Joe Edens spent almost his entire life in his native city of Columbia, but the business he built would reach far beyond the Palmetto State’s borders.
Edens started the real estate company that would bear his name in 1966, and was the business’s sole employee for the first two years. From that humble beginning, Edens went on to a successful real estate career that spanned more than four decades. In 1967, Edens developed his first shopping center, a 70,000-square-foot property anchored by a Bi-Lo grocery store. He would continue to grow the Edens company into an organization that currently has regional headquarters in Washington D.C., Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami and Columbia, and satellite offices in Charlotte, Houston and Denver.
At the time of his death, Edens’ company boasted approximately $3 billion invested in about 130 retail shopping centers along the East Coast that totaled more than 16 million square feet, according to his obituary. Five of the shopping malls Edens developed are in Richland and Lexington counties, according to an article in The State newspaper.
Edens also left behind a legacy of commitment to his community. According to his obituary, Edens provided years of service on a number of boards and committees, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond for the 5th District; the state Department of Natural Resources; the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism; the Federation Center for the Blind; the Columbia Development Corp.; the Eau Claire Development Corp.; the Board of Visitors of the Medical University of South Carolina; the board of C&S Bank; and the board of the National Bank of South Carolina. In addition, he served as chairman of the Republic National Bank.
In 2009, Edens was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame, in a class that included W. Hayne Hipp and Robert E. McNair.
Upon hearing the news of Edens’ death, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted that he was “so sorry to hear about the passing of Joe Edens. He was one of South Carolina’s most beloved and influential business leaders,” and added, “he was also a friend who will be missed greatly.”
Motoko Fujishiro Huthwaite
Aug. 24, 1927-May 4, 2020
The 2020 death of Boston native Motoko Huthwaite marked the closure of a significant chapter in American and World War II history.
According to an article on her death in The New York Times, Huthwaite was the final survivor of the 27 original Monuments Women.
The Monuments Women, along with 318 Monuments men, worked to preserve cultural treasures and artworks during and after WWII.
According to an article on the Monuments Men Foundation’s website, Huthwaite’s life in Boston was a cultural milieu as her family’s home was often a gathering place for Japanese students, professors and scholars from the many universities in the Boston area.
That life began to change, however, with the Dec. 7, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the Fujishiro family accepted an invitation from the U.S. government to return to Japan in 1942. Motoko Fujishiro’s father, who opted to remain in Boston, was arrested and served time in an internment camp before he was released and the family was reunited in Japan.
While in Japan, the Fujishiro family would witness many of the horrors of war as the Allies went on to eventually win the War in the Pacific.
After the war, the Fujishiro family was reunited with many old friends who traveled to Japan, including Langdon Warner, a Monuments Man working as a technical consultant to the Arts and Monuments division under the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. It was through Warner that Huthwaite was able to find a job in the same division, as a clerk typist.
The work done by the Monuments Men and the Monuments Women was later immortalized in the George Clooney movie, “The Monuments Men.” The Monuments Men comprised a special force of men and women who worked to protect cultural targets from Allied bombers during the war. After the war, the group’s work continued as its members tracked down more than 4 million stolen art objects and returned them to their countries of origin.
Huthwaite returned to the U.S. to pursue her education. After graduating from Radcliffe College in 1952, Huthwaite returned to Japan, where she taught at the American School in Japan.
It was in 1964 that Huthwaite moved to Columbia to continue her education. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1967 with a master’s in education, and lived in the Midlands until 1969, teaching at Schneider Public School in Columbia. She them moved to Detroit, where she received her doctorate from Wayne State University.
In 1971 she married William Ernest Cecil Huthwaite and the couple moved to Pontiac, Michigan. She would live and work for the rest of her life in Michigan.
George Thomas “Tom” Turnipseed
Aug. 27, 1936-March 6, 2020
A lawyer, politician and activist, Tom Turnipseed spent decades as a dominant force in Democratic Party politics in the Palmetto State.
After attending Lees-McRae College on a football scholarship, the Alabama native attended the University of North Carolina, where he received both his undergraduate and JD degrees. While at UNC, Turnipseed also met his future bride, Judith. The couple were wed in 1963 and moved to Columbia in 1971.
While Turnipseed would practice law in Columbia for more than 45 years, he was also a passionate player on the political scene, where he began his career working for the unsuccessful 1968 presidential campaign of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a noted segregationist.
From that politically conservative beginning, Turnipseed would become an active Democrat and activist who, beginning in the years after the Wallace campaign, championed a wide array of liberal causes, including global peace, environmental protection, consumer rights, mental health, and racial justice and equality, according to his obituary.
In the 1970s, he led a high-profile campaign to reform electrical-rate practices that discriminated against low-income utility customers and to change the way members were selected to serve on the body that oversees utilities’ practices, the state Public Service Commission.
Decades later, Turnipseed was co-counsel for the Macedonia Baptist Church in Clarendon County when the church sued the Ku Klux Klan in 1997 for a fire that burned the church’s sanctuary. In 1998 the church won a $37 million verdict in the lawsuit. That same year, Turnipseed was awarded the Holmes Weatherly Award for the pursuit of social justice by the Unitarian Universalist Association.
In addition to his law practice, Turnipseed served in the state Senate from 1976-80. In 1980, he embarked on an unsuccessful race for the state’s 2nd Congressional District against incumbent Floyd Spence. Turnipseed returned to the political arena in 1982, when he lost a runoff election for lieutenant governor. He would post a strong showing in his 1998 bid for state attorney general, but was defeated by another incumbent, Charlie Condon.
Turnipseed also served the residents of South Carolina as a board member of the state Mental Health Association, as the founding chairman of the Citizens Local Environmental Action Network, and as a life member of the NAACP.
In his later years, Turnipseed became a popular fixture in media, with radio and TV shows, and webcasts. Over the years, Turnipseed’s writings on political and human-rights issues were published in a number of national outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.
William Thomas “Bill” Cooper
June 25, 1929-Oct. 30, 2020
Throughout his adult life, Bill Cooper stressed the importance of “duty” to his children. But more than just talk, Cooper led a life that reflected his sense of duty to his business, family, faith and community.
Cooper, a native of Conway, attended The Citadel, where he excelled as a member of two elite drill teams, the Junior Sword Drill and Summerall Guards. As a senior, he would be voted by his classmates as the recipient of the John O. Wilson Ring, presented annually to the “finest, purist and most courteous member of the class,” according to his obituary. He graduated The Citadel in 1950 with a degree in business.
After college, Cooper enlisted in the Army and joined the Airborne Rangers. Cooper served in the Korean War, at first as an aide to Brig. Gen. Kenneth Sweany. When he was eligible to return home, Cooper instead asked to be assigned to lead an artillery unit and would reach the rank of captain.
After returning to the Lowcountry, a chance meeting between Cooper and Trudie Cannon, whom he had known while at The Citadel, led to romance, and the couple married in 1953.
After living briefly in Oklahoma, the couple returned to Charleston, where Cooper and his father-in-law Norman would establish Southeastern Galleries, a furniture store that offered design services in an era when few other furniture stores did so. Cooper continued to work at the store and oversee operations until this past March.
Cooper and Cannon built a true family business. Cooper’s son Rick Cooper is the business’s senior vice president, and his daughter, Trudie Cooper Krawcheck and grandson Randolph Cooper are designers. Another grandson, Will Cooper, works for Southeastern Galleries as a graphic designer.
Cooper was also active in the community, and served on several boards of other businesses, charities and civic organizations. Among those, he served as a founding board member of the Bank of South Carolina, which opened in 1987 and continues to serve customers in the Charleston area. Until his death, Cooper remained close friends with bank founder Hugh C. Lane.
He also served in the Marine Resources Division of the State Department of Natural Resources.
William Ames “Bill” Hall
Nov. 2, 1946-Aug. 18, 2020
Bill Hall learned about steaks while he was growing up in California, when he worked in a restaurant and in his father’s grocery store. But it was after moving to Charleston that Hall and his family would become synonymous with fine dining.
Hall’s hospitality was legend in Charleston, where he worked to perfection the front of the house at the flagship Halls Chophouse, on King Street. But before opening Hall Management Group in 2008 with his wife Jeanne and sons Tommy and Billy, Bill Hall honed his hospitality skills as manager of a variety of hotels, restaurants and resorts in top spots such as Hilton Head, and Napa Valley and Pebble Beach, California. During his 40 years working in corporate hospitality, he also managed properties for the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, as well as the Cloister Resort & Beach Club in Sea Island, Georgia.
In 2009, just one year after the Hall family founded Hall Management Group, the signature Halls Chophouse Charleston opened.
In slightly more than 10 years, the Hall family would grow its restaurant business to feature eight thriving properties, including Halls Chophouse locations in Charleston, Greenville and Summerville, as well as Halls Signature Events at 5 Faber, Rita’s Seaside Grille, High Cotton and Slightly North of Broad, all located in Charleston.
Bill Hall’s hard work wasn’t limited to the hospitality industry. Wherever he lived and worked, he was also known as someone who would work for the betterment of the community. During his years in the Lowcountry, Hall served on the boards of several organizations, including Explore Charleston, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition and the Patriot’s Point Development Authority. He also provided financial support to groups including the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.
In an effort to help other entrepreneurs, he partnered with friend Tommy Baker to found Beacon Community Bank with a goal of assisting Lowcountry small-business owners, which, the bank’s website says, “often have specific needs that go under-served by larger banks.”
Hall’s lifetime of paying attention to the details and providing unparalleled customer service earned his restaurants both honors and national attention. In 2015, Halls Chophouse Charleston was ranked No. 5 on TripAdvisor’s list of the 10 best restaurants in the U.S.
Harry Arthur Huge
Sept. 16, 1937 - April 27, 2020
Harry Huge, born in Nebraska, graduated from law school at Georgetown University in 1863 and went on to a long and successful career in law.
He and his wife, Rebecca Kine Huge, moved to Charleston in the 1990s, and he worked closely with the Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC, the Spoleto Festival and the South Carolina Aquarium. He and his wife founded the Huge Foundation to provide merit scholarships to students at the Honors College at the College of Charleston, The Citadel, Nebraska Wesleyan (his alma mater) and two universities in Estonia.
According to his obituary, he tried cases in courts throughout the United States involving both criminal and civil matters. Huge was listed in several editions of Who’s Who in America and the World and in the Best 1,000 Lawyers in America.
In 2001, he joined other attorneys in representing family members of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
He eventually represented Estonia’s interests in Washington, D.C., and was awarded the Medal of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana in 2006. He began serving as Estonia’s Honorary Consul for South Carolina in 2010.
Huge was actively involved in the civil rights movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the integration of the National Guard in Washington, D.C. He served as president of the Voter Education Project in Atlanta and as a member of the investigative committee into hunger and poverty in the United States, and served as a member of the President’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Strategic Weapons from 1977 to 1981, advising the president directly on the SALT II treaty and the ability to verify the Soviet missile arsenal.
David Maybank Jr.
Dec. 2, 1931-Jan. 25, 2020
During his lifetime, Charleston native David Maybank developed a well-deserved reputation as a successful businessman and entrepreneur, adventurer and historian.
While at the University of Virginia, Maybank joined the ROTC and continued his service in the Navy for two years after his graduation in 1954. He would continue to serve his country in the Naval Reserve until he retired with the rank of commander.
After his active-duty service, Maybank returned home to Charleston and took a position in the John F. Maybank Co., a firm founded by his grandfather. Throughout his career, Maybank owned and operated a variety of businesses, including the Maybank Fertilizer Co., which he purchased from his family. He would also acquire Palmetto Shipping and Stevedoring Co., and he founded Commercial Bonded Warehouse Inc., according to his obituary.
Maybank was a noted adventurer whose exploits took him around the world, according to a Charleston Post and Courier article published at the time of his death. In 1992, Maybank was part of a sea journey commemorating the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World. In 1998, he and a crew circumnavigated the Earth, covering 27,500 miles as part of the Lisbon World Exposition Rally to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Vasco de Gama’s journey from Europe to India.
Maybank’s love of history complemented Charleston’s own historic roots. Over the years, he worked with Robert P. Stockton, a professor at the College of Charleston, on a variety of history projects focused on everything from the Maybank family to Charleston to the Palmetto State.
He also lovingly restored and maintained a collection of Ford Model As and Model Ts at his Charleston home.
Maybank also devoted his energy to serving his community. He was trustee emeritus of The Spoleto Festival USA; and a trustee of the Historic Charleston Foundation, of Roper Hospital, of the Huguenot Society, and of The Episcopal High School, according to his obituary.
He was also a member of a variety of clubs and societies, including The Agricultural Society, the Saint Andrews Society, and the Society of the Cincinnati.
Burton Robinson “Burt” Schools
June 5, 1933-April 26, 2020
Burt Schools was passionate about The Pig. The Charleston transplant who was originally from Portsmouth, Virginia, had a long and successful career with the groundbreaking Piggly Wiggly grocery store chain.
After finishing high school in Portsmouth at the age of 17, Schools went on to receive an undergraduate degree from William & Mary in 1954. He then earned an MBA as a member of Emory University’s first MBA class.
During his service in the Navy, Schools would meet and marry Charleston native Marion Newton, and after his Naval discharge and a brief period in Atlanta, Schools and his bride returned to the Holy City.
It was in Charleston that Schools found employment in the accounting department with what would become the Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. Between 1958 and his retirement from Piggly Wiggly in 1999, Schools would hold a variety of leadership positions; when he retired, he was the chain’s executive vice president and CEO, in addition to being president of Greenbax Enterprises, a sister company to Piggly Wiggly. He was also chairman of the board.
Schools’ passions extended beyond his 62-year-marriage to Marion and his four decades at Piggly Wiggly. He also cared about his community and worked to make the Lowcountry a better place for all its residents. His community work included involvement on the boards of a variety of charitable organizations and nonprofits. At different times, he was chairman of the board for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Porter Gaud School, and the Community Foundation. He also served for many years as the treasurer for Bethel United Methodist Church.
Schools continued to serve others after his retirement, when he worked for several years as a volunteer adjunct professor of business at The Citadel. During his tenure at the college, Schools offered his mentorship to many of his students, and remained close to them throughout the rest of his life. One particular joy was his annual tradition of taking his entire class to dinner at a local Charleston restaurant.