Pickens mourns Alexander’s death

PICKENS — The Pickens community is mourning the loss of longtime local historian Julia Alexander, who passed away on Saturday at Rose Hill Retirement Community in Marion, N.C.

Alexander, a lifelong Pickens resident, was recently unanimously elected President Emeritus of the Pickens County Historical Society (PCHS) at its January board meeting, a first in the 56-year history of the organization, of which she was a charter member.

Alexander was born a daughter of the late Ernest Franklin and Frederica McDaniel Alexander. She was a graduate of Pickens High School and attended Draughon’s Business College in Greenville. She retired from Duke Power with 30 years of service, and was recognized as Duke’s first female branch manager. She was a member of Pickens First Baptist Church. Alexander, affectionately known as “Miss Julia,” was well known for her knowledge and records she kept of the history of the Pickens area. College professors and historians often consulted her on local history. At least three books have been written on the Alexander family heritage in the Upstate. She also received the I Fan the Flame Award from the Pickens County Revitalization Association for her support and contributions to the community.

“Recognized for her many years of dedicated service to the historical society, her leadership and genteel character, Julia Alexander has always been a wealth of knowledge of Pickens-area history,” read a release from the historical society when she was honored in January.

“No one deserves this unique honor more than Miss Julia,” PCHS president Ken Nabors said. “Her generosity of her time and talent to this community has always been without limit, and it does not go unappreciated.”

Alexander lived all her life in Pickens, within a three-block radius of her first home on Ann Street, where she was born.

“I have lived a good life here,” Alexander said upon winning the “I Fan The Flame award given by the city of Pickens and the Pickens Revitalization Association in October 2012. “I love the people and have been very blessed by them.”

Surviving are a sister; Frederica Black of Marion, N.C; two nieces, Linda B. Wood (Richard) of Marion, N.C, and Amy Alexander Schneider (Brett) of Lenexa, Kan.; one nephew, Joe Black (Katherine) of Buena Vista, Colo.; two great nieces, Heather Wood Anderson (Greg) and their children Grace and Molly of Marion, N.C., and Liza Wood Holmes (John) of Rock Hill.

In addition to her parents, Ms. Alexander was predeceased by a beloved brother, Vincent Holley Alexander.

Memorial services will be 2 p.m. Saturday, March 22, in the chapel of Robinson Funeral Home-Downtown.

The family will receive friends from 12:30 p.m. until 1:45 p.m. Saturday, March 22, prior to the service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Pickens County Historical Society, P.O. Box 775, Pickens, SC 29671 or to Pickens First Baptist Church, 406 East Main Street, Pickens, SC 29671.

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