Courier Obituaries 12-10-14

8-6 Page 5A.inddJo Ann L. Avery

Easley — Mrs. Jo Ann Long Avery, 66, wife of the late Millard Franklin Avery, died Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, at her home.

Born in Easley, a daughter of the late Pickney Plato and Laura Estella Gilliland Long, Mrs. Avery retired as the owner and operator of Five Points Café and was a member of Rice’s Creek Church of God of Prophecy.

Surviving are two sons, Steven A. Watkins (Shawnna) of Locust Fork, AL, and Neal Franklin Avery of Lakeland, FL; two daughters, Melissa Watkins of Greenville, and Theresa Lee Barge of Cuthbert, GA; three brothers, William E. Long (Lillian), Glenn E. Long (Vickie), and Robert E. Long (Linda), all of Easley; a sister, Gladys McGuire of Greenville. Eleven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Graveside services were held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, at Hillcrest Memorial Park with the Rev. Brandon Nix officiating.

Condolences may be expressed online at, or in person at Robinson Funeral Home-Downtown, which is assisting the family.

Clifton H. Davis

Pickens — Clifton H. Davis, 74, of Concord Church Lane, died Friday, Nov. 28, 2014.

He was the son of the late Lawton Davis and Floy Kelly Davis.

He is survived by his loving companion of 11 years, Kathy Gilstrap, who was also his devoted caregiver for the last two years. He is also survived by a daughter, Donna D. O’Shields; and two grandchildren, Sharlotte A. Mauldin and Chance J. Cox, all of Pickens.; also, two great grandchildren, Kyndall J. Mauldin and Patience Mauldin who were the light of his life.

He is also survived by his estranged wife, Gloria E. Davis, who he remained close to until the end. He is survived by two brothers and three sisters, all of Pickens.

Alton D. Gilstrap

Pickens — Alton D. Gilstrap, 72, of Pickens, died Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Dorothy “Dot” Gilstrap, of the home; his daughter, Glenda (Robert) Snyder of Easley; his grandchildren, Stephanie Snyder of Easley; and Shawn Griffin of the home; his sisters, Becky (Stanley) Childress of Dacusville and Miranda (Ronnie) Williams of Easley; his brothers, Macky (Connie) Gilstrap of Pickens; and Sammy (Kay) Gilstrap of Pickens.

He is preceded in death by his parents, William and Helen Gilstrap; his daughter, Angela Childress; and his son-in-law, Terry Childress.

He was a member of Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Pickens and was retired from Sangamo Electric Co. in Pickens.
He was a veteran of the US Marine Corp, serving during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Funeral services were held Friday, Dec. 5, from noon to 1 p.m. at Cove Creek Baptist Church in Pickens, with burial following at 1 p.m. in the church cemetery. Palmetto Mortuary is assisting the Gilstrap family.

Patsy Rowland

Pickens — Patsy Anne Cope Rowland, 74, died Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, at St. Francis Hospital-Downtown.

Born in Central, she was the wife of Ralph Rowland and the daughter of the late Margaret Craig Kinsey and the step daughter of the late Clyde Kinsey. She was retired from Singer and a member of Blue Ridge View Baptist Church.

Surviving in addition to her husband are two daughters, Kim Hager (Gordie) of Marietta and Kristy Dodgens of Pickens; two half brothers, Gene and Robert Cope; two grandchildren, Scottie Hager (Melissa) of Walhalla and Lori-Ann Dodgens of Pickens; and two great-grandchildren, Nolan and Brinkley Hager.

Graveside services to honor the life of Mrs. Rowland were held Friday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m. at Hillcrest Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to Jones Hill Church of God, 1014 Dalton Road, Marietta, SC 29661. Memorial messages may be sent to the family by visiting Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangements.

Beatrice Holcombe

Easley — Beatrice Timms Holcombe, 77, of 107 Mary Ann Street, died Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 at her home surrounded by her husband, Johnny, her children, grandchildren and family friends.

Born in Oconee County, a daughter of the late Alvin Leroy and Lillie Elnora Simmons Timms, Mrs. Holcombe was formerly employed with Saco Lowell, Wal-Mart and retired from Bosch Corp. She was a member of Lakeview Baptist Church.

Surviving are her husband, Johnny Holcombe of the home, a son, Barry Holcombe of Easley; two daughters, Diane Brown of Columbia and Tammy Porter (Randell) of Simpsonville; five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. In addition to her parents, Mrs. Holcombe was predeceased by a son, Curtis Mitchell Brown and by a sister, Shelby Jean Kelley.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, in the Chapel of Robinson Funeral Home-Downtown. Burial followed in Fairview Church of God Cemetery in Seneca.

Memorials may be made to Heartland Hospice, 421 Southeast Main Street, Simpsonville, SC 29681.

Condolences may be expressed online at, or in person at Robinson Funeral Home-Downtown, which is assisting the family.

Lawrence B. Edens

Pickens — Lawrence Bruce Edens, 87, husband of the late Correne Cassell Edens, died Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014.

Mr. Edens was born in Pickens County, a son of the late Lawrence Lee and Myrtle Whitmire Edens. He was retired from the Slater Plant of J. P. Steven Company and he was a member of Holly Springs Baptist Church. Mr. Edens was a U. S. Navy veteran of World War II and also a member of Keowee Lodge #79 A.F.M in Pickens.

Survivors include six daughters, Juanita Capps of Marietta, Martha Mayfield (Chris) of Easley; Elaine Eldridge of Greer; Wanda Lance (James) of Pickens; Sue Moses (Joey) of Six Mile; and Julia Lance (fiancée Mike Staton) of Easley; thirteen grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Also, surviving is a brother, the Reverend Dwight Edens of Marietta; and sisters, Essie Lee Dodson of Jacksonville; FL, Gladys Bagwell of Cateechee; and Pearl Winchester of Salem.

In addition to his parents and wife, Mr. Edens is preceded in death by two grandchildren.

Funeral services were conducted at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at Holly Springs Baptist Church, with burial following in the church cemetery.

A message of condolence may be expressed to the family by visiting

Dillard Funeral Home is assisting the Family.

Mary Frances Proffitt

Liberty — Mary Frances Pratt Proffitt, 88, of 104 Mae Street, died Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, at Manna Health & Rehab in Pickens.

Born in Liberty, she was the wife of John Willis Proffitt Sr. of the home and a daughter of the late Burts Bonner and Frances Boggs Pratt. She worked as a bookkeeper at various places over the years. She retired from the School District of Pickens County. She was a member of Liberty First Baptist Church.

Surviving, in addition to her husband are a son, John Willis Proffitt,Jr. of the home; a sister, Kathryn Blackwell of Liberty; three brothers, Burts Bonner Pratt, Jr. of Greenville; Joseph A. Pratt of Chester, VA; and Paul Pratt of Liberty.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by two sisters, Aletha Smith and Eleanor Williams; and two brothers, William Kyle Pratt and Robert Joel “Bobby” Pratt.

Funeral services to honor the life of Mrs. Proffitt will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, at Liberty First Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Liberty Memorial Gardens.

Memorial messages may be sent to the family by visiting Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangements.

John Blanton Hiott

Raleigh, N.C. — John Blanton Hiott, the fifth of six children in the family of Gary Lander Hiott and Eunice Biggerstaff Hiott, was born February 25, 1928, in Pickens and died Dec. 3, 2014, in Raleigh, N.C.

He was a man enlivened by discoveries and new understandings and steadied by his sense of family and faith.

John spent his childhood playing games of imagination and sports in the fields and barns and under the houses and porches in the Florence Street neighborhood. As he got older, he was allowed to help out at The Pickens Sentinel, the family-owned printing company that edited and printed the weekly newspaper for Pickens County.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army during his last year of high school and after graduation was assigned to post-war Japan, where he served as a “clerk, non-typist,” processing the correspondence course paperwork for other soldiers. It is unlikely he or anyone else realized at the time how this work defined what his life would become — one dedicated to helping others cultivate a life of learning.

He spent the years after his military service earning his A.A. from Gardner-Webb College, his B.A. from Baylor University, and his Th.M. from New Orleans Baptist Seminary. While at seminary in New Orleans, he attended Coliseum Place Baptist Church and met Mary Carmen Moncla. They married on Aug. 21, 1953.

After his graduation from seminary, John and Carmen went to New York to start the first Southern Baptist church in the state, but even the summers in Niagara Falls were too cold for the two southerners and they moved back to the south. John served as pastor of three churches in three states and in college administration at Gardner-Webb College (now University) and St. Andrews Presbyterian College (now University).The second half of his life was spent primarily as educator and minister as he found a home along the line formed by Hillsborough Street in Raleigh that extended from the Cameron Park neighborhood west to Meredith College and east to First Baptist Church.

During his 25 years at Meredith, John worked as registrar and assistant to the academic dean, director of planned giving, and director of scholarships and financial assistance. He joined First Baptist Church and soon became the teacher of a Sunday school class for young couples that still meets today. He worked in the church’s clothes closet program and served as a deacon and on many committees. John also became a scoutmaster so his two oldest sons would have a way to be in the outdoors they learned to love when he was pastor at Spring Hill Baptist Church in Wagram. He was an active member of the Raleigh Civitan Club.

He was predeceased by his parents; his brothers, Gary Jr. and Robert; and his sisters, Eulalia and Eunice. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Carmen Moncla Hiott; sons, John Jr. (Joannie) of Louisburg, N.C., Gray of Wagram, N.C., and Blake (Amy) of Raleigh, N.C.; daughters, Marie McEntire (Mark) of Nashville, Tenn., and Ann Barham (Charlie) of Winston-Salem, N.C.; beloved grandchildren, Atticus McEntire, Claire McEntire, Lily Hiott, Eli Hiott, and Emma Hiott; brother, David (Sue) of Pickens; sister-in-law, Eloise, of Pickens; sisters-in law, Gloria Revere of Southern Pines, N.C., and Carol Campbell (Max) of Moncla, La.; brother-in-law, Alfred Moncla, Jr. (Kay) of Elizabeth City, N.C.; and by many nieces and nephews.

The family thanks the members of First Baptist Church, the staff at Sunrise of Raleigh, and the staff and volunteers of Hospice of Wake County for their unfailing compassion and care. A memorial service will be held at First Baptist, 99 N. Salisbury Street, Raleigh, at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Dec 20. Visitation will follow in the church fellowship hall. At a date to be announced, his ashes will be entombed at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Pickens and scattered at the family home in Moncla, La. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts to the Meredith College Annual Fund, the First Baptist Church Third Century Fund, or the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities.


Pickens — Janice Sue Batson, 66, died Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014.

She was a daughter of the late Lamar and Lois Pace Batson.

Surviving is a sister, Martha (Tony) Gillespie, two nieces, Melissa (Ronnie) Curtis and Rebecca (Joey) Greene, three great nieces and a great nephew, Joesy, Sara and Isaiah Greene and Kassidy McCurly all of Pickens; and a special aunt, Gladys Pace Corcoran of Pickens.

Her special friends were Patsy Elrod, Donnie, Carolyn, Jamie and David Gravely and Angel Myers. She loved her four pets, calling them her furbabies.

She was member of The Church of Jesus Christ, Lamb of God of Pickens, where she had many close friends. Memorial services were held Monday, Dec. 8, at 11:30 a.m. at her church. Officiating were Elder Ralph Dobson and Elder Larry Anderson.