Courier Obituaries 3-25-20


PICKENS — Wilma Coleman Gillespie, 89, widow of Garth S. Gillespie, passed from this life on Monday, March 23, 2020, in Pickens.

Born on Oct. 18, 1930, in Lowell, N.C., she was the daughter of the late Fred Coleman and Bertha McKinna Coleman. She was a member of Midway Baptist Church. She enjoyed her life as a homemaker, mother and babysitter to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was happiest when her house was full.

In addition to her husband, Wilma was preceded in death by sisters, Louise Coleman, Sophia Pace and Ruth Morris; brother, Jim Coleman; son-in-law, Gary Wortman; and grandson, Travis Wortman.

Surviving are her children, David Gillespie, Linda Wortman, John Gillespie, Sandy Gillespie (Barry Durham), Joan Williams (Mark), Robert Gillespie, Roger Gillespie (Linda), Kenneth Gillespie, Lisa Lewis (Mark) and Jeff Gillespie; and beloved sister, Betty Bowie (Charlton). In addition, she is survived by grandchildren, Brian Gillespie, Alan Gillespie, Andy Gillespie, Amy Quinn, Shannon Childress, Stacey Shaver, Jennifer Rogers, Savannah Gillespie, Delaney Gillespie, Samantha Davis, Shane Gillespie, Kyle Myers, Robert McKinney and Anna Bryson; 22 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Pickens County Meals on Wheels, 349 Edgemont Ave., Liberty, SC 29657.

The family would like to thank the caring staffs of The Woodlands at Furman Memory Care unit and Manna Rehabilitation for the love and attention given to Wilma.

The family will have a private graveside service for the safety of all concerned. A public memorial service will follow at a later date.

Online condolences may be expressed to the Gillespie family by visiting


EASLEY — Mr. Sherren Lucious “Rabbit” Powell, 66, passed away on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

Born in Pickens County, a son of the late Tirel Lucious Powell and the late Myrtle Atkins Powell, Mr. Powell received his associate degree from Greenville Technical College and was a retired Supervisor with T&S Brass. He was a member of Wayside Baptist Church.

Rabbit loved the outdoors and was an avid rabbit hunter, was treasurer of the Cove Creek Beagle Club, but his greatest love was his family. He will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Surviving are his significant other, Tammy Renee Fant Childress of Easley; two sons, Jeremy Heath Hudson (Candace) of Liberty and Wallace Tyson Powell (Stephanie) of Pickens; three sisters, Brenda P. Hayes (Arthur) of Pickens, Janie P. Mitchell (Gary) of Las Vegas, Nev., and Kathy P. Masters (Randall) of Pickens; and six grandchildren, Blake Hudson, Jaxson Powell, Hannah Hudson, Eden Powell, Madelyn Powell and Addie Ruth Hudson.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Powell was predeceased by a brother, James M. Powell; and a granddaughter, Lily Gwen Powell.

The family hosted a memorial service on March 19 at Blue Ridge View Baptist Church in Pickens.

Memorials may be made to the Tammy Renee Fant Childress Medical Expense Fund, 122 John Childs Road, Pickens, SC 29671.

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


EASLEY — Mr. Thomas Michael Bryant, 54, husband of Joyce Kelly Cook Bryant, passed away on Monday, March 16, 2020.

Born in Jacksonville, Fla., a son of Delores Ann Sweat Bryant of Spartanburg and the late Richard Thomas Bryant, Mr. Bryant was a graduate of Nathan B. Forrest High School, Clemson University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and the University of South Florida, where he received his master’s degree in religious studies. He was employed with Greenville Technical College, where he taught religious studies, and was of the Christian faith.

Thomas had a passion for teaching, being a mentor and always being there for others. He was a loving husband, father, son, brother and grandfather who will be truly missed by all who loved and knew him, especially those who knew him by Sabah.

Surviving, in addition to his wife of 25 years, are two daughters, Sierra Michelle Cook and Hannah Noel Bryant, both of Easley; a son, Travis Lane Bryant of Easley; two brothers, Jay Roger Bryant (Jerri) of Ohio and Christopher Jordan Bryant of Spartanburg; and one grandson, Anthony Lane Cook.

Graveside services were held on March 23 at Greenlawn Memorial Park.

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


EASLEY — William “Freedie” Luther Freeman III, loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, passed into eternal rest on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

Born in Greenville on July 25, 1949, Freedie was a graduate of North Greenville Junior College and Carson-Newman College.

He began his 48 year textile management career in 1971 with Millikin and Co., where he worked for 12 years. During this time, he also served in the U.S. Army Reserve, 391st Engineers Division. He then became affiliated with Southern Weaving Company. At retirement he was working for VOA Canada, a division of Autoliv North America.

He served two terms as board president of Smithfields Country Club in Easley. Freedie served on the Baptist Healthcare System Board of Trustees for 23 years. During that time, Freedie served 12 years on the Palmetto Health Board of Directors where he was elected chairman of the board for 2012 through 2013. He was presently serving as a member of the Prisma Health-Midlands Board of Directors. Freedie was respected for his leadership and commitment of service to others.

As a faithful 48-year member of First Baptist Church of Easley, he served on the usher team and was a member of the McCall Sunday School Class.

Freedie had a unique sense of humor, used many “Freedie-isms,” was outgoing with a forthright manner and lived life to the fullest. He enjoyed golfing with his buddies, working in his yard, family beach trips, traveling, the Beach Boys and Hallmark movies, but most of all he loved and cherished time with his family.

Left to mourn his loss are his beloved wife of almost 50 years, Carolyn Slagle Freeman; daughters, Christa Brumfield (Adam) of Easley and Cayce Foster (Jeremy) of Liberty; grandchildren, Carter and Caroline Brumfield and Merritt and Sydney Foster. He is also survived by a loving brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Davina Freeman of Easley. Other extended family includes sisters-in-law Rebecca Sargeant (Stewart) of Biarge, France, and Linda Casey (Dane) of Green Mountain, N.C.; four nephews and three nieces.

Freedie was predeceased by his parents, Rev. W.L. Freeman Jr. and Louise Burgess Freeman. He was also predeceased by aunts and uncles, Garnet and Polly Barnes and Herbert and Gladys Freeman.

A special thank you is extended to Prisma Cancer Institute, Dr. Britt Boleman, McCall Hospice Home and Doctors Bhansaly and Mansour of Prisma Health Easley. Also, a big thank you to all the friends and associates who offered support, love and prayers with texts, calls, cards, food, snacks and many encouraging words.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to First Baptist Church of Easley “For Generations to Come,” 300 E. First Ave., Easley, SC 29640.

Based on the extraordinary circumstances currently surrounding the COVID-19 public health crisis, a celebration of life service will be scheduled and announced at a later date. A private family service will be held on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at Robinson Funeral Home, Powdersville Road, Easley.

Visit or Robinson Funeral Home and Crematory-Powdersville Road, Easley.


PICKENS — Henry Ray Grant, 92, passed away on Saturday, March 21, 2020, at Oakview Park Assisted Living.

Born on May 13, 1927, he was the son of the late Henry Clyde Grant and Cora Holcombe Grant.

He was a longtime member of Northside Baptist Church in Pickens. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service and was a Mason and member of Keowee Lodge #79. He loved his family and his church and his loving wife of 68 years, Virginia, but most of all loved his Lord Jesus Christ.

Surviving are his wife of 68 years, Virginia Grant; two sons, Sammy (Sherry) and Blaine (Caroline); four grandsons, Justin Grant (Shannon), Joshua Grant, Grayson Grant and Bolt Grant; two great-granddaughters, McKenzie and Emma Layne Grant; one sister, Betty Hendricks, and one brother, Pat Grant (Kathy).

He was predeceased by three brothers, Sonley, Harold and Ralph; and two sisters, Drunell Chapman and Helen Yates.

Funeral services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Northside Baptist Church, 421 Sangamo Road, Pickens, SC 29671.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting

Dillard Funeral Home in Pickens is assisting the family.


LIBERTY — Joseph Ken Gilstrap, 83, of 139 Leroy Drive, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 20, 2020, at Fleetwood Health and Rehab.

Born in Pickens, he was a son of the late Leroy and Annie Galloway Gilstrap. He was retired from Gamewell Construction and was of the Baptist faith. He was an avid fisherman who loved his garden, too.

Surviving are his wife, Gladys “Cricket” Duncan Gilstrap of the home; two daughters, Sherry Freeman (Barry) of Easley and Tracy Hinson (Dean) of Central; a sister, Nellie Lusk of Six Mile; two brothers, Luther Gilstrap of Pickens and Grover “Mick” Gilstrap of Liberty; four grandchildren, Kerry Freeman, Jessy Rabon, Kendra Brock and Hannah Hinson; and five great-grandchildren, Renee, Shana, Preston, Noah and Brysin.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, Terry Gilstrap, and a grandson, Shane Gilstrap.

Due to our current health crisis concerning COVID-19, the family of Mr. Gilstrap held a private graveside service at Liberty Memorial Gardens on March 23. A service to celebrate his life will be postponed to a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to Enon Baptist Church, 871 Enon Church Road, Easley SC 29640.

Online condolences may be left for the family by visiting Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangements.


EASLEY — Mr. Billy Norman “Bill” Hiles, 88, husband of the late Margaret Camp Hiles, went to be with his Lord and Savior Saturday, March 21, 2020.

Born in Anderson County, a son of the late Edward H. “Ed” Hiles and the late Ola Massingale Hiles, Mr. Hiles retired from Dan River Mills with 40 years of service and later retired from the School District of Pickens County with 18 years of service. He was a member of Welcome Missionary Baptist Church, where he served as head usher.

Bill loved his family dearly, and his passion was working on classic cars, especially his 1950 Plymouth and his 1951 Ford Truck, “Lollipop.”

Surviving are two daughters, Marsha H. Prince (Larry) of Greenville and Kathy H. Gwinn (Rev. Gary) of Easley; a sister, Violet H. Holcombe of Liberty; six grandchildren, Mitch, Mali, Evan, April, Alisha and Patti; one step-grandson, Roger Prince; and 14 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his wife and parents, Mr. Hiles was predeceased by four brothers, Bruce, Frank, Shirley and Glenn Hiles; one sister, Daphene Smith; and a step-grandson, Tim Prince.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, at Welcome Missionary Baptist Church, 4463 Old Easley Bridge Road, Easley, SC 29642. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park.

The family will receive friends from 11:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday at the church, prior to the service.

Memorials may be made to the Steeple Building Fund of Welcome Missionary Baptist Church, P.O. Box 325, Easley, SC 29641.

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


LIBERTY — Travis Lance Stephens, 35, of 332 Amsterdam Road, died on Saturday, March 21, 2020, at his residence.

Born in Greenwood, he was the husband of Kayla Nichole Stephens of the home and a son of Donna Maxey Stephens of Liberty. Travis was an avid outdoorsman. He loved hunting, fishing and dirt track racing. He also had a love for farming with his brother, Jeff. He was employed at Imperial Diecasting and he was of the Baptist faith.

Surviving, in addition to his wife and mother, are his stepchildren of the home, Avril and Hayden Jones; his brother, Jeff Stephens and his wife, Elizabeth; his uncle, Howard “Bug” Maxey Jr.; his aunt, Reba McCollum; and his niece and nephew, Brantley and Lane Stephens.

He was predeceased by his grandparents, Howard and Dot Maxey.

Due to our current health crisis concerning COVID-19, a private memorial service will be held for Travis at this time. A public celebration of Travis’s life will be announced at a later date.

Memorials may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting Liberty Mortuary and Cremation Services are handling arrangements.


EASLEY — Mary Lou Lipe Maynor, 93, of 101 Mae Ave., passed away peacefully on Friday, March 20, 2020, at Manna Health and Rehab.

Born in Asheville, N.C., she was the widow of Carl Maynor and a daughter of the late Albert and Lethia Moser Lipe. She retired from C.T.S. and was a member of Mt. Pisgah Church of God of Prophecy.

Surviving are a daughter, Ann Bailey (Philip) of Easley; a son, Tommy Maynor (Donna) of Easley; two sisters, Betty Jones and Dixie Beachboard, both of Asheville; a daughter-in-law, Sharon Maynor; five grandchildren, Tammy Swafford, Terry Hendrix, Lee Maynor, Charlie Bailey and Carla Rickman; 11 great-grandchildren; and 12 great-great-grandchildren.

In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by a son, Carl Steven Maynor, and a grandson, Scott Harwood.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and CDC regulations limiting the size of public gatherings, the family will have a visitation to honor her life at a later date.

Online condolences will be available now by visiting Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangements.


PICKENS — Mrs. Avanell Jones Banks, 89, went to be with her Lord and Savior on Saturday, March 21, 2020.

Mrs. Banks was born in Pickens County and was the daughter of the late Arthur Jones and Nina Hayes Jones and wife of the late Richard Aaron Banks Sr.

Survivors include sons, Dr. Richard Aaron Banks Jr. (Mari Lou) of Fairfield, Ohio, and T. Scott Banks (Monica) of Easley. Mrs. Banks is survived also by a brother, Wallace Jones of Anderson; three grandchildren, Stephanie Benjamin (Jason), Aaron Banks and Joshua Banks; and two great-grandchildren, Landon Boykin and Ava Boykin.

Mrs. Banks was predeceased by three sisters, Eula Trotter, Willie Mae Pace and Olline Evett; and seven brothers, Norman, Bruce, Prue, Clyde, Guy, Wayne and Glen Jones.

Mrs. Banks loved her church, Griffin Baptist Church, and especially the Mrs. Hull Sunday School Class. She also enjoyed the outdoors and loved her walking. She also loved reading and was known for frying okra.

The family will be having a private graveside service with a formal visitation to follow at a later date for the safety of all concerned.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Griffin Baptist Church, 1629 Pumpkin Town Highway, Pickens, SC 29671.

Dillard Funeral Home is assisting the Banks family.

Online condolences may be sent to


EASLEY — Rachel Zura Robinson Looper, 86, of Latham Road, beloved wife of the late Wayne Dilworth Looper, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Saturday, March 21, 2020, at her home.

Born in Greenville County, she was a daughter of the late Andrew Shead Robinson Sr. and Ada Nancy Bennett Robinson.

Rachel was a God-fearing woman who cherished every moment spent in her Bible and with her family, the two most important things in her life. She was a lifetime member of Rock Springs Baptist Church, where she was the church secretary for 25 years and member of the Willing Workers Sunday School Class. She loved to sew, paint and cook Sunday meals for her entire family, and she enjoyed a good discussion of politics.

Surviving are her sons, Dr. Stephen Wayne Looper of Greenville, Mark Anthony Looper and his wife, Debbie, and David Alan Looper and his wife, Patty, all of Easley; her grandchildren, who she absolutely adored, Andrew Talmadge “Tal” Looper and his wife, Stephanie, Jessica Caroline Looper, Matthew Stephen Looper, Adam Mark Looper, Thomas Edward Looper and his wife, Brittany, Ethan Aaron Looper, Lauren Alexandra Looper Merck and her husband, Tyler, Morgan Elizabeth Looper and Kristen Grace Looper; her precious great-grandchildren, Aubrey Elizabeth Blandin, Charlotte Lynn Looper, Jason Ranger Looper and a great-granddaughter on the way; a sister, Martha Malek of Easley; and a brother, Jack Robinson of Greenville.

In addition to her husband and parents, she was predeceased by a daughter-in-law, Deborah McMahan Looper; sisters, Mildred Keith, Ann Hammond and Ruth Crawford; and brothers, Andrew Shead “June” Robinson Jr., Dewey Robinson, Grady Robinson and Kenneth Robinson.

The family will receive friends on Friday, March 27, 2020, from noon until 1:30 p.m. at Robinson Funeral Home-Powdersville Road, with a graveside service to follow at 2 p.m. in the Rock Springs Baptist Church cemetery. Keeping with the recent guidelines regarding COVID-19, the funeral home will only allow eight people at a time to visit with the family, so please be patient.

Rachel’s shell, that we loved so much, will lie in state at Robinson Funeral Home, 1425 Powdersville Road, Easley, SC 29642 on Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. for those wishing to come by to adhere to social distancing.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to In Touch Ministries, P.O. Box 7900, Atlanta, GA 30357, or Interim Hospice, 810 Powdersville Road, Suite B, Easley, SC 29642.

The family will be at Rachel’s home on Latham Road in Easley following the graveside service.

Please visit or Robinson Funeral Home-Powdersville Road, Easley.