Courier Obituaries 8-10-22


LIBERTY — L. Dean Thomas, 84, peacefully landed in the loving arms of his creator on July 18, 2022, signing off on a life that he described as a “good run.”

Dean’s only regret was that he stopped one badge short of becoming an Eagle Scout. Dean would go on to serve his country with distinction as a jumpmaster parachutist in the 82nd Airborne Division, earn a degree in aerospace engineering at Texas A&M and launch several successful businesses.

Born on Jan. 28, 1938, in Bryan, Texas, Dean was the son of the late Robert Thomas and Vivian Martin and big brother to Bobby and Martha Ann. As a child, he delivered papers for the Bryan Daily Eagle on his bicycle until he could afford a motor scooter. Dean gave up Boy Scout Troop 383 and his paper route to get a “real job” at the neighborhood grocery store so he could buy his first car at 16. Dean loved automobiles and would take Bobby and Martha cruising in his latest beauty, which included a turquoise Oldsmobile convertible and a fire engine red MGB convertible.

As a senior in college, Dean met his beautiful bride, Jean Ellington, and married her on May 30, 1964, at the First Methodist Church in Jean’s hometown of Lyford, Texas. Jean was Dean’s soul mate, business partner and co-pilot. Dean and Jean flew airplanes together, including flying competition aerobatics. They launched Technical Sales & Applications Inc. in Orlando, Fla., in 1979, and Dean and Jean Realty in Liberty in 1999, where Dean worked until his declining health forced him to retire in 2015.

Dean is well known in Liberty as a member of the Liberty Lions, volunteer at Cannon Memorial Hospital and Meals on Wheels and as a volunteer pilot for Young Eagles, for which he flew 55 youngsters, many for their first airplane ride. During his retirement, Dean served as a court-appointed guardian ad litem.

Survivors include his wife, of 58 years, Jean Ellington; two daughters, Colleen Thomas of Bethesda, Md., and Stacie Morales (Luis) of Ponte Vedra, Fla.; two grandchildren, Jacob and Juliette Morales; his siblings, Robert Thomas (Kate) and Martha Snodgrass (Jim), both of College Station, Texas; niece, Jennifer McDowell (Jamie) of Nashville, Tenn.; and nephews, Michael Thomas (Deana) of Houston, Texas, and Brian Konecny (Robin) of Bryan, Texas.

Dean was predeceased by his parents and his nephew, Scott Konecny.

A memorial service followed by a reception celebrating Dean’s life took place on July 24 at Liberty United Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Pickens County Meals on Wheels.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting Palmetto Cremation Service of Pickens is assisting the Thomas family.



SIX MILE — Clarence Edward “C.E.” Watson went home to be with Jesus on Sunday, Aug. 7, at the age of 93.

He died at his family home place in Six Mile, surrounded by his loving wife and family, who offered prayers, scripture and music throughout the week to ease his journey toward heaven.

A child during the great depression, Ed was born on the last day of 1928 to Mattie Mae Bolding Watson Looper and Clarence Franklin Watson.

Throughout his life, he entertained his family with stories of pranks and adventures from his childhood and long life in Pickens County.

Ed grew up on a small family farm during the Great Depression and worked at Judson Mill in Greenville starting as a teenager. He married Kathleen in 1949 at her parents’ home in Pickens, and they lived in Greenville until he was drafted to military service in 1951. He served as a corporal in the U.S. Army in Leipheim, Germany, in the 28th Infantry Division, 628th Tank Battalion, from 1951 until 1953 as the tank driver for Lt. Col. Zimmerman, who is said to have called Ed the “best tank driver he ever drove with,” in spite of his sometimes-risky tank maneuvers in the icy German hillsides and farms.

Following his military service, Ed began a 30-year career as a top sales agent and later district manager with Southland Life Insurance Company, retiring in 1984. He was a motivational and successful trainer and leader, and as a result, he mentored many young men as top sales agents, and he and Kathleen attended numerous insurance sales conventions with their Southland Life colleagues, traveling to places like Cuba, London, New York and Dallas.

As the oldest grandson in the large Watson family clan, Ed became a strong and commanding patriarch who could be tough but also tender and generous, with a sense of humor. He called himself the “Daddy Rabbit of his briar patch” on a hill above Kelly Mill Road. His grandchildren knew him as their Papa, who taught them how to work, sing and pray. He created a small lawn service business to employ his Six Mile grandsons, and they all have stories of the life lessons and work ethic he instilled in them. He engaged in service to his church and community during his life, especially during his retirement years, serving as a Mason and Shriner and board member with the Six Mile Water District.

Ed was a lifelong member of Praters Creek Baptist Church and served his church in many ways. He was a deacon for more than 60 years, guiding the church through many decisions and changes that are part of the life of a community church. He led the music ministry as the music and choir director for decades and sang as a soloist and in various trios and quartets. He even took the maintenance and care of the church buildings to heart and with his family held the janitorial services for years. His faith in God was deep, guiding and filling his life with inspiration, gratitude, love for his family, neighbors and church home, and always with music and song. With his wife, Kathleen at his side for more than seven decades, his faith never faltered.

He and Kathleen loved to travel, and throughout their life together they took summer family vacations to North Myrtle Beach with their best family friends, the Carl and Francis Pilgrim family, Kevin, Robert and Marilyn. During retirement, they made numerous trips with best cousins Wayne and Jane Watson, and more recently Leamon and Net Watson, exploring magnificent areas of the U.S., including Vermont, Maine, the Pacific Northwest, Yellowstone, Texas and the Grand Canyon. These trips enriched their family friendships and life and provided more stories of adventures.

But the home place at Ed’s “briar patch,” with its gardens and proximity to his family and church community, proved to be the place that nurtured Ed’s long and happy life with Kathleen and his deep faith in God.

He is survived by his wife and companion of 73 years, Kathleen Gillespie Watson; his children, Carolyn (Ralph) Bolding, Cindy (Garnett) Watson and Steve Watson; and his grandchildren, Katie (Geoff) McDowell, Brian (Jamey) Bolding, Gabe (Aleesha) Bolding, Jessica (Tyeler) Prater, Jon (Lauren) Bolding, Jahanna (Tim) Schwab, Josiah Bolding, Walker (Caitlin) Watson, Meggie (Josh) Roseborough, Jordan Harrison and Justice Harrison; 18 great-grandchildren; his sister, Doris (Boyce) Whitman, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Avanell Powell and Helen Abercrombie.

Funeral services to honor the life of Mr. Watson were held on Aug. 9 in the Liberty Mortuary chapel. Burial followed at Hillcrest Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Praters Creek Baptist Church, State Missions Fund.

Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangements



LIBERTY — Brian Keith Dismukes, 54, of Rices Creek Road, passed on to his Heavenly home on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, at Prisma Health-Greenville Memorial Hospital.

Born in Spartanburg, he was a son of Keith Dismukes of Spartanburg and the late Lucille Banks Dismukes. Mr. Dismukes was a Dorman High School graduate. He received his BS degree at USC and his MBA at Baker University. He was currently employed by Vertiv, where he was an IT manager. He loved serving his community. Earlier in life he was a Boy Scout, volunteer fireman and an EMT. He currently was on the Pickens County Board of Elections and enjoyed being a DJ as well. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Liberty, where he had served as a deacon and the sound committee.

Surviving, in addition to his father, are his wife, Penny Beaty Dismukes of the home; a daughter, Blair Dismukes Roberts (Reid) of Liberty; two sons, Jakob Dismukes of Greenville and Breck Dismukes (Taylor Culpepper) of Easley; a stepson, Tanner Mills (Rebecca) of Inman; two sisters, Leslie Leso of Spartanburg and Elizabeth Marks of Columbia; three brothers, Thomas Dismukes of York, Phillip Dismukes of Durham, N.C., and Sam Dismukes of Spartanburg; and a grandchild, Rinleigh Joy Roberts.

In addition to his mother, he was preceded in death by his first wife, Patty Bagwell Dismukes.

The family hosted a celebration of Mr. Dismukes on Aug. 4 at First Baptist Church-Liberty, conducted by the Rev. Mark Kannarney. The family received friends prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Palmetto Boys State, 316 Boulevard, Anderson, SC 29621.

Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangements.



PICKENS — Jack Curtis Whitmire, 90, loving husband to the late Blanche Whitmire, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, at Cottingham Hospice House in Seneca.

A native of Oconee County, Jack was born on June 29, 1932, the son of the late Riley W. Whitmire and Hattie Eloise Whitmire. Mr. Whitmire was a graduate of Tamassee-Salem High School and a U.S. Army veteran. He was a member of Red Hill Baptist Church in Pickens, where he formerly served as deacon and church representative for the Pickens Twelve Mile Baptist Association. He enjoyed watching westerns, camping, fishing, squirrel and rabbit hunting, gardening and going to church. Jack was a family man and loved spending time with his family.

Survivors include his children, Glenda Collins (Mark), Judy Patrick (Bobby), Rodney Whitmire and Roger Whitmire (Lisa), all of Pickens; 14 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren and expecting two more; and siblings, Lavon Orr, Jessie Ray Whitmire (Martha), Louise Orr (Bo), Sybil Rose Johnston (Ken) and Frances Taylor (Tony).

In addition to his parents, Mr. Whitmire was predeceased by his wife, Blanche Whitmire; a son, Dale Whitmire; two brothers, James D. Whitmire and Riley Whitmire Jr.; and two sisters, Patricia A Lewis and Inez Whitmire (infant).

Visitation was held on Aug. 8 in the chapel of Mountain View Funeral Home in Pickens, with funeral services following. Burial took place following the service at Hillcrest Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Jack’s honor may be made to Cottingham Hospice House, 390 Keowee School Road, Seneca, SC 29672.

Mountain View Funeral Home – Pickens Chapel is serving the Whitmire family.



EASLEY — Marie Watkins, 86, passed away peacefully and surrounded by her family on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022.

Marie was the daughter of late Lecil and Blanche Casey.

Marie was a member of Easley Church of God. She loved taking care of her family and friends.

She is survived by her children, Sherry Grant (Sammy) of Easley, Carla Parks (Randy) of Easley and John Watkins (Kristi) of Easley; two brothers, Keith Casey of Enoree and Whitey Casey of Greer; two sisters, Joyce Owens of Laurens and Sara L. Crocker of Enoree; seven grandchildren, Justin Grant (Shannon), Joshua Grant, Casey Reed (Austin), Mary Baker (Seth), Jesse Parks, Bailey Watkins and Will Watkins; and five great-grandchildren, Mackenzie Grant, Emma Layne Grant, David Reed, Nova Reed and Emmy Kay Reed.

Marie was preceded in death by the love of her life, Carl Watkins; her son, Ron; one brother, Roger Casey; and one sister, Linda Gail Williamson.

The family resides in their homes.

A private graveside service will take place to celebrate the life of Marie.

In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to the Dream Center or Easley Church of God, in memory of Marie.

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



EASLEY — Mrs. Gladys “Ma” Lewis Pace Corcoran, 99, went home to be with her Lord and her family on Friday, July 4, 2022, at Prisma Health Baptist Easley Hospital.

Gladys was born in the Mountain View area of Pickens County on Oct. 19, 1922, to the late Fletcher and Ida Massingill Lewis. She was twice married, first to the late Clyde A. Pace and then to the late Al Corcoran Sr., and was the last surviving member of her immediate family. She was a 1943 graduate of Six Mile High School. Gladys was always busy taking care of her small garden, reading, coloring, drawing, crocheting, spending time on her computer and watching television.

She retired from Mayfair Mills in Pickens in 1984 after 35 loyal years of service in many departments, with her last department being Quality Control. After her retirement, she began serving her community by volunteering at Cannon Memorial Hospital and giving out coupons at Bi-Lo. Always wanting to be busy, she went back into the workforce, where she spent 15 years at Burger King. In years past, she enjoyed going on bus tours and visited 41 different states, and also spent a week in France. One of her most memorable trips was to Branson, Mo., in 1997, where at one of the shows, she got on stage with the band and sang and yodeled, “I Want To be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.”

Gladys was a longtime member of Pickens View Wesleyan Church, where she served the Lord faithfully in numerous capacities, including financial secretary, choir member, children’s Sunday school teacher and BYF organizer. She was also instrumental in helping the church acquire its first bus.

Mrs. Corcoran is survived by a son, Lewis Pace (Carolyn); three stepchildren, Eleanor Jaeger (Ernest), Al Corcoran Jr. (Denise) and Dolores Delany; two grandchildren, Robert Pace (Sherri) and Laura P. Brown (Jamie); a goddaughter, Gina DeLong; and several great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by husbands, Clyde A. Pace and Al Corcoran Sr.; two brothers, Calvin Lewis and Leroy Lewis; one sister, Maebelle Bryant; two sisters-in-law, Inez Lewis and Ruth Lewis; and a brother-in-law, Buren Bryant.

Funeral services were conducted on July 10 at Pickens View Wesleyan Church, with interment following at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Pickens.

The family is at the residence of her son.

Flowers are accepted.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting Dillard Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.



PICKENS — Robert K. Houston, 68, loving husband of 44 years to Sharon Houston, passed away on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, at his home in Pickens.

A native of Macon County, N.C., Robert was born on April 25, 1954, to the late Donald Gordon Houston and Mary Rogers Houston. He was a member of the Liberty Masonic Lodge No. 235 A.F.M. for 40 years. Robert enjoyed being outdoors, hunting and fishing.

Survivors include his wife, Sharon Houston of the home; his daughter, Kylie Scolaro (Alex) of Hayesville N.C.; his grandson, Lyric Robert Lee Voiselle; his siblings, Shirley Murphy (Tom), Donna Houston, Kathy McConnell, Jimmy Houston and Wylie Houston (Diane); his sister-in-law, Patty Houston; and several nieces and nephews.

Robert was predeceased by his parents; a sister, Betty Henry; two brothers, Billy Houston and Gary Houston; his father-in-law, William “Dub” Edens; and his mother-in-law, Jane Edens.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 13, in the Mountain View Funeral Home – Pickens Chapel at 3 p.m. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 2-3 p.m.

Mountain View Funeral Home – Pickens Chapel is serving the Houston family.



EASLEY — Lee Jackson “Jack” Nicholson, 88, beloved husband of the late Carol Smith Nicholson, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.

Born in Pelzer, he was a son of the late William Pack Nicholson and Ollie Belue Nicholson.

Mr. Nicholson was retired as a “Jack” of all trades. He loved watching Clemson football and enjoyed a good round of golf. Jack was a member of Calvary Hill Baptist Church.

Surviving are his son, Mark W. Nicholson (Renée) of Union; a granddaughter, Heather Nicholson Meador (Matthew); great-grandchildren, Luke and Mattie Lee Meador; and a daughter-in-law, Paulette Nicholson of Nashville, Tenn.

Mr. Nicholson was the last surviving member of his immediate family. In addition to his wife and parents, he was predeceased by a son, Jerry T. Nicholson; a sister, Evelyn N. Watson; and brothers, Rev. Harold Nicholson, Marvin Nicholson and Rev. Joe Nicholson.

The family received friends on Aug. 4 at Robinson Funeral Home-Downtown, with the funeral service following in the funeral home chapel. A private burial was at Greenlawn Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to SmileTrain, 633 Third Ave., 9th Floor, New York, NY 10017, or Calvary Hill Baptist Church, 501 Rampey St., Easley, SC 29640.

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



EASLEY — Bernice Wilson Elrod, 94, beloved wife of the late Benjamin Garnett Elrod, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, at her home.

Born in Elberton, Ga., she was a daughter of the late Lonnie and Hattie McCarty Wilson.

Mrs. Elrod retired from Swirl Manufacturing after more than 30 years of dedicated service. She was a member of Galilee Baptist Church and enjoyed spending time outside growing beautiful flowers and vegetables.

Surviving are her daughters, Imogene Sheriff, Yvonne Sheriff and Sybil Elrod, all of Easley; grandchildren, Jason Sheriff (Angie), Ben Sheriff (Angie), Jennifer Van Patten (John), Russell Sheriff (Amanda), Jonathan Sheriff (Deana) and Kenneth Sheriff (Jennifer); 10 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandson.

Mrs. Elrod was the last surviving member of her immediate family. She was predeceased by three brothers and two sisters.

The family received friends on Aug. 8 at Robinson Funeral Home-Downtown, with the funeral service following in the funeral home chapel. Burial was held at Greenlawn Memorial Park.

Flowers will be accepted.

The family will be at the home.

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



EASLEY — Earl “Butch” Hamilton Gilstrap, 83, passed away on Aug. 4, 2022.

Born in Pickens County, he was a son of the late Ernest Morris and Beulah Capps Gilstrap.

Mr. Gilstrap loved Clemson sports, and he especially loved his family.

Mr. Gilstrap is survived by his wife, Laura Northway Gilstrap; his sons, Greg Gilstrap (LaTresa) of Easley and Sammy Gilstrap (April) of Liberty; a daughter, Susan Moore of Easley; sisters, Maxine Stephens (Lloyd) and Gladys Jones; grandchildren, Tyler Gilstrap (Dánon), Kyle Gilstrap (Shavon) Lance Gilstrap (Arianne), Dustin Moore (Michelle), Cody Moore (Heather), Sierra Lopez-Perez (Natanael), Chris Bryant (Jennifer), Nicole DeMeyer (Todd) and Courtney Wilcox (Brian); and 22 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a son, Joey Gilstrap; and nine brothers and sisters.

A visitation for Mr. Gilstrap was held on Aug. 9 at Robinson Funeral Home – Downtown, Easley.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Meyer Center at or 1132 Rutherford Road, Greenville, SC 29609

Please visit or Robinson Funeral Home and Crematory – Downtown, Easley.



LIBERTY — Lena Maxine Clardy, 77, of Norris Avenue, passed away peacefully on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022.

Born in Walhalla on April 20, 1945, she was the daughter of the late George Clinton Edwards Sr. and Minnie Lou Smith.

She retired from Champion Aerospace and was a longtime member of Liberty Church of God.

Surviving are her husband of 57 years, Walter “Buddy” Clardy of Liberty; two sons, Mark Clardy (Victoria) of Greenville and Neil Clardy (Mardi) of Liberty; three grandsons, Corey Clardy (Lauren) of Pickens, Brandon Clardy (Haliey) of Liberty and Michael Clardy (Natasha) of Inman; two step-grandsons, Austin and Michael Holcombe; and nine great-grandchildren, Hailey, McKenzie, Reagan, Brailyn, Lola, Kamryn, Rylee Kate and Lane. She was also survived by her brothers, Wilbur Edwards of Liberty and George C. Edwards Jr. (Elaine) of Pickens, along with many nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by a brother, Larry Clinton Edwards; and a sister, Lou Ann Edwards.

Graveside services to honor the life of Mrs. Clardy will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, at Liberty Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 10-10:45 a.m. at Liberty Mortuary.

Memorials can be made to Liberty Church of God, 3 Jefferson St., Liberty, SC 29657 or the Pickens County Humane Society, 500 Five Forks Road, Liberty, SC 29657.

The family will be at the home. To share a memory or leave a message for the family, please visit Liberty Mortuary is handling arrangements.