Courier Obituaries 1-26-22



MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — On Jan. 21, 2022, Al Byers was able to see and walk again as he entered Heaven to be with Jesus.

James Alvin Byers was born in Pickens on March 11, 1928, the oldest son of James Earl and Esther (Cannon) Byers.

He graduated from Pickens High School in 1946. After working for Singer Sewing Machine in Pickens, he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. Al fought in Korea as a member of the Thunderbirds, the 45th Infantry Division, whose motto fittingly is semper anticus — always forward. He was a combat engineer, and his company was tasked with building roads and bridges, laying minefields and constructing barracks and bunkers on both sides of the 38th Parallel. He was promoted several times during his two-year term and ended his military career as a staff sergeant.

After his release from military service, Al enrolled at Bob Jones University in Greenville, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1956 and a master’s degree in1957. Al went to work for the Sword of the Lord, then located in Wheaton, Ill., upon graduation. He had answered an ad that said they were looking for “a college-educated man for long-term employment.” He worked for the Sword for more than 52 years, and looking back said, “I think that qualifies as long term!”

In Wheaton, Al met and married Marcella Jane O’Dell on May 20, 1961, and they were married for more than 60 years.

As he demonstrated his abilities, in 1961 Al was given responsibility for the finances and management of the daily operations of the Sword of the Lord. In a letter outlining the new duties Al was being assigned, the founder and president of the ministry Dr. John R. Rice wrote, “You can be more valuable to me and to the work than you dream now, and I believe God sent you to us.” In 1963, he coordinated the relocation of the ministry from Wheaton to Murfreesboro, Tenn., including the sale of the existing headquarters, the purchase of the building at its present location and the moving of equipment and furnishings. Al represented the ministry in churches and conferences, as well as in the community.

For 45 years, Al was a deacon at the Franklin Road Baptist Church, where he was a member since 1972. He was a member of the Rotary Club in Murfreesboro. During this time, the ministry of the Sword grew, necessitating the expansion of staff and two building projects, which he oversaw. In 1974, Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point, Ind., conferred upon Al an honorary Doctor of Literature and Letters degree in recognition of his service. Al served as vice president and general manager of the Sword and served as secretary on the board of directors for many years. He worked at the Sword until 2009.

Al was preceded in death by his parents, sister Montez Grant, brother Troy Byers, daughter Rhonda Byers, and granddaughter Victoria Byers. He is survived by his wife Marcella, son Robert and wife Brenda of Broken Arrow, Okla., daughter Rebecca Aguilar and husband Jacinto of Columbia, S.C., and son Ron Byers and wife Traci of Murfreesboro, Tenn. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. His favorite hymn was “Count Your Blessings.”

“So, amid the conflict, whether great or small

“Do not be discouraged, God is over all

“Count your many blessings, angels will attend

“Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.”

Visitation was Jan. 24 at Franklin Road Baptist Church. The funeral service followed, with Dr. Mike Norris officiating. Burial was at Evergreen Cemetery with military honors. Grandsons served as pallbearers.

An online guestbook for the Byers family is available at



GREENVILLE — Ramon Steck, 89, passed away peacefully with his loving wife of 64 years, LuAnne, by his bedside on Jan. 11, 2022.

Born in Whitewater, Wis., Ray was the youngest of three sons and attended Lawrence University. With a prowess for singing, he graduated with a B.A. in economics and a minor in vocal performance. After graduation, Ray worked for Marathon Corporation, where he met his wife, and they began their storybook life together. Together, they intertwined Ray’s successful business career with raising three children. His strong work ethic and devoted love for his wife were instilled in the family and were an example for all who knew him.

After a successful career in the corporate world, Ray became a franchisee of Burger King and Au Bon Pain restaurants until his retirement. Upon retirement, he and LuAnne moved to The Cliffs Vineyard outside of Greenville, where they lived happily for seven years.

Thanks to his involvement in the Pickens County Council, Ray turned his leadership skill and “get it done” attitude toward spearheading the development of a much-needed fire department in the Vineyards and surrounding rural area. The Vineyards Fire Department became a model for future developments of rural fire departments and was remembered by Ray to be one of his most important accomplishments. He regularly would comment on how dedicated the fire department team was and how proud he was of each of them.

For the last six years, he and LuAnne lived at the Cascades in Greenville. With so many activities there, Ray joined the community’s choir and found joy in returning to his passion that he had had for so many years before.

He is survived by his wife, LuAnne; his children, Paul (wife Gretchen), Nancy and Steven (wife Ann); and his grandchildren, Katie, Kara, Drew, Colin and Charlie.

Ray was predeceased by his parents and two brothers, Gordon and Jerome.

Condolences may be left for the family by visiting




EASLEY — Elwyn Ray Lego Sr., 63, our beloved husband, father, brother and grandfather, passed away peacefully on Jan. 15, 2022.

Born in Sturgis, Mich., he was a son of the late William Albert Lego and June Shorey Kilpatrick.

He will be remembered for being a huge cheerleader for his loved ones and those he cared deeply for, as well as his 20-year service in the U.S. Navy. Ray served his country and he served others, he worked hard to keep both safe and do both proud. He loved watching Detroit everything for professional sports, supporting the University of Michigan’s athletic teams, writing poetry, singing karaoke, playing pool, bragging about his family members and being a part of his wife’s silly party ideas and celebrations.

Mr. Lego was tenderhearted, thoughtful and witty. He always took more pride in someone else’s accomplishments than he did in his own, he thought outside of the box in making someone smile and he was quick-witted enough to get a laugh at just the right moment. He also loved dogs and had a soft spot for labs, but any dog would bring a smile to his face.

Surviving are his wife, Beth Hickam Lego of the home; three daughters, Tricia Woodward (Jim) of Greer, Jennifer Owen (Greg) of Easley and Laura Zartman (Jeremy) of Seatle, Wash.; a son, Ray Lego Jr. of Taylors; two sisters, Terry Woods and Kathy Schroeder; eight grandchildren, Brittany Emerson, Kaitlyn Garrard, Gabriel Aderholdt, Leland Rosenberry, Isabella Landers, Alexa Landers, Trey Lego and Barron Woodward; and a great-grandson, Brody.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a son, Joseph Lego; a sister, Linda Bowersox; and a brother, Roger Lego.

Private services with military honors will be held at Liberty Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to the Pickens County Humane Society. You may donate by visiting

To share a memory or leave a message for the family, you may visit

Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangements.




EASLEY — Mr. Henry Lester Thomas, 82, went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Jan. 22, 2022.

He was born in Anderson, the son of the late Clyde H. Thomas and Bertha Forrester Thomas.

Mr. Thomas was a member of Enon Baptist Church. He enjoyed gospel music and hanging out at Butterbeans of Easley. He served in the United States Air Force and retired from National Linen Service/Alsco.

He was a Mason. He absolutely loved his family and his church family. He was loved by all who knew him and just had a great sense of humor.

Surviving are daughters, Janet Sherman (Keith) of Texas and Donna Hester (Todd) of Easley; and four loving grandchildren, Lindsay Short (Parker) and Molly Sherman-Dunn (Craig), both of Texas, and Jenni Bishop and John Hester, both of Easley. Also surviving are two most precious and loving great-grandchildren, Matilda and Marigold; and a special little girl, Macayla Mendoza of North Carolina.

Mr. Thomas was predeceased by his wife, Jenny Thomas, and a brother, Larry Thomas.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, Jan. 28, at 2:30 p.m., at the Dillard Funeral Home chapel, 2402 Gentry Memorial Highway in Pickens, with a visitation that same day from 1-2:15 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will follow the service at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Pickens. The Air Force will be presenting honors. The Rev. Brad Dover will be officiating.

The family will accept flowers, or memorials may be made to Enon Baptist Church, 871 Enon Church Road, Easley, SC 29640.

Dillard Funeral Home is assisting the Thomas family.

Online condolences may be sent to



EASLEY — Mr. Tony Ray Pilgrim, 67, husband of the late Deborah Oates Pilgrim, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

Born in Pickens County, a son of the late Fred Dewitt Pilgrim and the late Agnes Herron Pilgrim, Mr. Pilgrim was a graduate of Easley High School and was formerly employed with Ballew Aluminum Products for 25 years. He was of the Baptist faith.

Tony was an avid sports fan and loved attending concerts, but his greatest love was for his family. He will be dearly missed by all who loved and knew him.

Surviving are his two sons, Christopher Pilgrim (Jessica Lee) of Fountain Inn and Joshua Pilgrim of Easley; his two daughters, Toni Ann Pilgrim (Kenneth Gosnell) of Piedmont and Candace Denise Pilgrim (Dillon Trotter) of Easley; and his six grandchildren, Austin Pilgrim, Isabella Pilgrim, Chloe Pilgrim, Zackary Gosnell, Landon Trotter and Myles Trotter.

In addition to his wife and parents, Mr. Pilgrim was predeceased by a brother, Randy Eugene Pilgrim. He was the last surviving member of his immediate family.

Graveside services were held on Jan. 24 at Greenlawn Memorial Park.

Visit or Robinson Funeral Home and Crematory-Downtown, Easley.



EASLEY — Charles Ricky Ramey, 63, son of the late Willie Gordon Ramey and Dorothy Elizabeth Chappel Ramey passed away on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, at his residence.

A native of Pickens County, Rick was born on March 28, 1959. He was a Pickens High School graduate. Rick loved working on cars, riding his four-wheeler and shooting guns. Rick was employed by Crenshaw Asphalt as a truck driver.

Survivors include his mother, Dorothy Ramey of Pickens; his brother, Scott Ramey (Versail) of Pickens; a nephew, William Nicholson; and a niece, Pam Chastain.

Graveside services will be held on Thursday, Jan. 27, at Hillcrest Memorial Park, starting at 3 p.m.

Flowers will be accepted.

Mountain View Funeral Home is serving the Ramey Family.




SIX MILE — Elaine Vivian Durham, 66, daughter of the late R.G. and Dorothy Gladys Durham, passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, at her home.

A native of Pickens County, Elaine was born on Feb. 27, 1955. She loved spending time with her kids and grandbabies, crocheting and flowers. Elaine lived her life for her children and grandchildren and was saved by the grace of God through the blood of Jesus Christ. She would want nothing more than for those who do not know Jesus as their savior to believe on the only begotten son of God. God gave Elaine unimaginable strength throughout her life. She was also a member of Fairview Baptist Church in Liberty.

Those left behind to cherish Elaine’s memories include her children, Marylaine McCollum (Clint) and James Fendley, both of Six Mile; her grandchildren, Elana Louise McCollum and Andrew James McCollum; two sisters, Leatha Hembree (Charles) and Tracy McCall (Terry); and several nieces and nephews.

Elaine was predeceased by her parents and her two brothers, Ronald Gregory Durham and James Steven Durham.

Receiving of friends and family was held on Jan. 22 in the chapel of Mountain View Funeral Home, with funeral services following. Burial took place at Fairview Baptist Church Cemetery in Liberty following the service.

Flowers will be accepted.

Mountain View Funeral Home is serving the Durham family.



EASLEY — Gertrude C. Thompson, 85, loving wife of 62 years to the late Wade Thompson, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Baptist Easley Hospital.

A native of Pickens County, Gertrude was born on April 20, 1936, to the late Andrew and Missouri Posey Chastain. Gertrude enjoyed cooking and going out to eat and loved her grandchildren unconditionally.

Mrs. Thompson is survived by her two daughters, Shelia Thompson of Easley and Jeana Thompson Pool (Paul) of Simpsonville; her grandchildren, Marisa Kaiser (Lee), Marina Powell (Jonathan), Camden Pool and Carson Pool; one great-grandson, Memphis Kaiser; one great-grandson to be born in February, Huntley Kaiser; and her two sisters, Isabel Duncan and Adeline Holden.

In addition to her spouse and parents, Mrs. Thompson was predeceased by two sisters, Irene Trotter and Ella Mae Alexander; an infant brother, Charles Chastain; and four brothers-in-law, Melvin Duncan, Paul Trotter, Glen Alexander and J.B. Holden.

A private burial will be held at Hillcrest Memorial Park, and a public memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Mountain View Funeral Home is serving the Thompson Family.



EASLEY — Charles Heyward Smith, 55, died on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, at St. Francis Hospital Downtown.

Born in Greenville, he was a son of the late Wallace L. and Hazel Mahaffey Smith.

Mr. Smith retired from the SCDOT and was of the Baptist faith. He was an avid Clemson Tiger fan and was an outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish. Charles loved his tractors and enjoyed NASCAR, too.

Surviving are his wife of 34 years, Sonya Smith of the home; three sons, Robbie Smith, Corey Smith (Kimbearly) and Brett Smith, all of Easley; a sister, Terri Strickland (David) of Liberty; his father and mother-in-law, Donnie and Sallie McAlister of Easley; a very special brother-in-law, Donnie McAlister of Easley; and a cousin, who was more like a brother, Chip Smith (Jinny) of Maryland.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Tina Marie Brown.

Funeral services to honor the life of Mr. Smith will be at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 26, in the Liberty Mortuary chapel. Burial will be at the Grace Baptist Church cemetery.

To share a memory or leave a message for the family, you may visit

Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangements.



WILLIAMSTON — Ernest Wayne Bagwell, 74, loving husband of Iris King Bagwell, passed away from this life on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, at Pruitt Health nursing and rehabilitation center.

A native of Pickens County, Ernest was born on May 27, 1947, to the late Sethie Joe Calvin and Mary Louise Swords Bagwell. Mr. Bagwell was a member of United Wesleyan Church in Easley.

In addition to his wife, Iris, Mr. Bagwell is survived by his children, Sherri Lynn Helton (Tim) of Central, Ronnie Bagwell (Angela) of Liberty, Chris Bagwell (Marilyn) of Greenwood and Stephen Bagwell (Rebecca) of Williamston; a stepson, William Kirk Nix of Central; five grandchildren, James, Tyler, Tessa, Chelsi and Madi; two great-grandchildren, Bentley and Calum; one sister, Sue Burgess of Liberty; and three brothers, Joe Bagwell (Nancy) of Liberty, Clyde Bagwell (Judy) of Easley and Larry Bagwell (Susan) of Liberty.

Mr. Bagwell was predeceased by his parents; daughter, Connie Bagwell; two sisters and four brothers.

Graveside services were held on Jan. 25 at Abbott Cemetery in Liberty, officiated by the Rev. Tim Jones.

Flowers will be accepted.

Mountain View Funeral Home is serving the Bagwell Family.



EASLEY — Gary Ray Nabors, 79, beloved husband of the late Hazel Day Nabors, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

Born in Greenville County, he was the son of the late Theodore and Nellie Lesley Nabors.

Gary was retired from BASF in Clemson after 30 years of dedicated service. He had a passion for golf, playing until he became ill. He was also a member of Cross Roads Baptist Church and the Emory Jones Sunday School Class.

Surviving are his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, John Frank and Janie Day of Pickens; two nephews; a niece; and several cousins.

The family will receive friends on Thursday, Jan. 20, at Cross Roads Baptist Church, with the service to follow in the church sanctuary. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Cross Roads Baptist Church, 160 Cross Roads Church Road, Easley, SC 29640.

Visit or in person at Robinson Funeral Home and Crematory-Downtown, Easley.



LIBERTY — Elizabeth Ann “Liz” Davis, 66, passed away on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, at her home surrounded by her family.

Born July 13, 1955, she was the daughter of the late William Blant Manley and Willie Lucille (Stancil) Manley.

She was a loving wife of 42 years to Charles Allen Davis Sr. Mrs. Davis worked as a secretary and enjoyed traveling.

Left to cherish her memory, along with her husband, are her three sons, Travis Davis (Erin) of Liberty, Jarvis Davis (Heather) of Liberty and Charles Davis Jr. (Lindsay) of Six Mile; seven grandchildren, Coralie, Kalan, Eli, Ashlan, Pyper, Carter and Caleb; four sisters, Alice Rosalee King (Harold), Joyce Ann Gray (Leroy), Barbara Ann Gilstrap (Jimmy) and Judy Darlene Harris (Rusty); and one brother, William Mickey Manley (Becky).

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, Christopher Edward “Cooter” Manley, as well as two sisters, Linda Gene Bryant McAlister and Evelyn Mantez Davis.

The family members are at their respective homes.

There are no formal services scheduled at this time. A celebration of Mrs. Davis’s life will be held at a later date.

Mountain View Funerals and Cremations is assisting the family of Elizabeth Ann “Liz” Davis.





EASLEY — Robert Craig Deutz Sr., 79, son of the late Charles J. and Anabel P. Deutz, passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, at his residence.

Mr. Deutz was born on Feb. 26, 1942, in St. Paul, Minn. Robert worked as a gaming manager and was a United States Army veteran.

He is survived by his son, Robert C. Deutz Jr. and his wife Lisa of Easley.

No services are scheduled at this time.

Mountain View Funeral Home is serving the Deutz Family.



LIBERTY — Flossie Evelyn Crews Beeson, 101, a longtime Liberty resident, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, at the Cascades of Greenville.

Born in Wauchula, Fla., a nurse and widow of Col. James M. Beeson Sr. and a daughter of the late Joseph Crews and Flossie Bailey Crews, Mrs. Beeson will always be known affectionately as a caregiver by her friends and family and the people whose life she touched.

She was a devout Christian woman and longtime member of Liberty First Baptist Church and spent her life supporting her husband and raising her family.

Surviving are her three sons, Jim Beeson Jr. (Mary) of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., John Beeson (Carmen) of Simpsonville and Joey Beeson (Mary Jane) of Greenville; 12 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; and one great-great-great-granddaughter.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a daughter, Margaret Evelyn Beeson; a grandson, Kent Ashley Beeson; and 14 brothers and sisters.

Funeral services to honor Mrs. Beeson’s life will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 26, in the Liberty Mortuary chapel. Private burial will be held at Liberty Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Liberty First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 207, Liberty, SC 29657, or Lutheran Hospice, 429 N. Main St., Suite 3, Greenville, SC 29601.

To share a memory or leave a message for the family, you may visit Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangements.



SIX MILE — Mrs. Harriett Elizabeth “Lib” Poore Merck, 83, widow of the late Joseph Harold Merck, passed away on Jan. 22, 2022.

She was born in Oconee County to the late Alvin Eugene Poore Sr. and Lena Maggie Bowen Poore.

She worked for many years for Schlumberger as a mechanical technician before retiring. Mrs. Merck was a member of Gap Hill Baptist Church and was always very active as long as her health would allow. She was a loving mother and grandmother. Mrs. “Lib” enjoyed her crafting, which included quilts, and gardening.

Surviving are a son, Kenneth Ray Merck (Deborah); grandson, Jason David Merck (Ashley); and granddaughter, Clarissa Gayle Crenshaw, all of Six Mile. Also surviving are six great-grandchildren, Logan, Austin, Madison, Avery, Jordan and Brayden; and a brother, William Maurice Poore (Marlene) of West Union.

Mrs. Merck was predeceased by one sister, Betty Jean Miller, and brothers, Harold James Poore, Alvin Eugene Poore Jr. and Lane E. Poore.

A graveside service was held on Jan. 25 at Hillcrest Memorial Park.

Dillard Funeral Home is assisting the Merck family.

Online condolences may be sent to



LIBERTY — Ernest George Dodgens, 80, of 556 Golden Creek Road, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Prisma Health Baptist Easley Hospital.

Born in Six Mile, he was a son of the late Rufus and Sara Kelley Dodgens.

Surviving are a special nephew, Paul Dodgins and his wife Peggy of the home; a sister, Margaret Perry of Liberty; a brother, James Dodgens of Seneca; and many other nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by three brothers and a sister.

Funeral services to honor Ernest’s life were conducted on Jan. 20 in the Liberty Mortuary chapel. Burial was at Golden Creek Baptist Church cemetery.

The family will be at their respective homes. To share a memory or leave a message for the family, you may visit

Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangments.