Obituaries – February 13, 2019

­Amy Danielle Gibson

DARLINGTON – Amy Danielle Gibson, 44, passed away Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019.

Funeral services were Thursday, Feb. 7, at First Pentecostal Holiness Church in Hartsville, with burial at Rivers of Living Water Church Cemetery, formerly Pond Hollow. The family received friends at Belk Funeral Home.

Born Feb. 6, 1974, Danielle was the daughter of Judy Rae Kelley Gibson and the late Ernest Phillip Gibson. She enjoyed travelling, especially to the beach and the mountains, and she enjoyed taking care of her two grandchildren.

In addition to her mother, Judy Gibson of Darlington; Danielle is survived by her children, Adam Gibson and Whitney Gibson, both of Darlington; grandson, Tate Ard and his sister, Emma Oliver, who was like a granddaughter to Danielle; brothers, Steve (Nicole) Gibson and Jamie Gibson. Also surviving is her stepfather, Jessie Huggins; nieces and nephews, James Gibson, Tyler Gibson, Heather Williams, Hannah Gibson, Daniel Gibson and Bryce Stanley.

A guestbook is available online at

Sandy Hendricks

LAMAR – Madelyn Sandra “Sandy” Hendricks, 74, passed away Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. Funeral services were Thursday, Feb. 7, at Christian Pathway Church, with burial in Newman Swamp Cemetery. The family received friends last Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at Belk Funeral Home in Lamar, and other times at the home.

Born March 20, 1944, Sandy was the daughter of the late A.L. “Cy” Howell and the late Nora Emma Odom Howell. She worked at Lamar Hosiery. She enjoyed talking to people. Sandy was a talented singer and enjoyed singing at nursing homes and had a special place in her heart for “old people.”

Surviving are her husband of 55 years, Dwight H. Hendricks Jr.; son, Dwight “Sambo” (Ginger) Hendricks III, both of Lamar; grandchildren, Christopher (Anna) McKagen and Lee McKagen; sister, Linda (Denny) Kellenbenz of Bishopville; her special friend and caregiver, Thomasina George.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a grandson, Owen McKagen, and a nephew, Dave.

Memorials may be made to Embrace Hospice, Open Arms Foundation Inc., ATTN: Kelli McHugh, 1113 44th Ave. N, Suite 300, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577.

A guestbook is available online at

Rudy Branham Sr.

DARLINGTON — Rudy Branham Sr., 85, of Darlington died Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, at McLeod Hospice House in Florence.

Funeral services were Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Chapel of Kistler Hardee Funeral Home. Burial followed in Grove Hill Cemetery. The family received friends Wednesday, Feb. 6, at Kistler Hardee Funeral Home.

Rudy was born Oct. 7, 1933, and was the son of the late W.D. Branham and Minnie Watford Branham. He owned and operated Branham’s Airport and Branham’s Garage for many years. Rudy enjoyed crop dusting and flying airplanes.

Surviving are his siblings, James (Renee) Branham; Wanda (Tim) Thomas; and Ray Branham; his granddaughter, Angel (Kevin) Odom; his great-grandchildren, Corbin, Landon and Branson; one great-great-grandchild; his nephews, Russell Branham and Eddie McCoy Jr.; and his niece, Candace (Gary) Elms; and special friend, Betty Horton of Columbia.

Rudy was preceded in death by his parents listed above; his wife, Belle Branham; and his son, Rudy Branham Jr.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the McLeod Hospice House, 1203 E. Cheves St., Florence, SC 29506.

Family and friends are invited to sign the online guest book at

James (Jim) Casper Stone Jr.

DARLINGTON — James (Jim) Casper Stone Jr., born in Darlington Dec. 22, 1940, to James Casper Stone and Ray Rhodes Stone, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.

Chief, as he was respectfully and affectionately known, also holds the title of Coach, Church Servant, Husband, Daddy, Bo, Mr. Darlington and Friend to All.

As a child, he chased fire trucks, and as a teen, he became a track star at his beloved alma mater, St. John’s High School (Class of ’59) and still holds a state record.

He attended the University of South Carolina on an athletic scholarship. While studying, he heard his unit with the S.C. National Guard called to duty; he shut the book and served during the Cuban missile crisis. He later transferred to the Air Force Reserve to continue and fulfill his obligation to the military.

At the end of his military career, he returned to Darlington and went to work, alongside his father, at the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. In 1962, he joined the Darlington Fire Department, which evolved into a 50-year commitment to follow his dreams of being a firefighter, rising quickly through the ranks of Engineer, Captain and Assistant Chief and was the department’s first recipient of the Fireman of the Year Award.

In 1984, he was named the City of Darlington’s first full-time Fire Chief, fulfilling and living his dream every day until his retirement in 2012.

Chief also served on Darlington County Council as councilman, vice-chairman and chairman, the Pee Dee Council of Government and Executive Board, was a founding member of the Darlington Youth Football League and served as a coach in the Dixie Youth Baseball program for many years.

He served on the 911 Communications Study Committee and was influential in implementing the system for Darlington County. He was also involved with the American Legion Post 13, St. David’s Masonic Lodge, Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association, Darlington Raceway’s Ambassador Club and the Darlington Veteran’s Memorial.

Chief, a lifelong member of First Baptist Church, enjoyed serving on the property, personnel and stewardship committees over the years and was serving as a trustee.

Preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Carolyn Stone Godwin, and a son, James C. (Jay) Stone III, he is survived by his wife of 53 years, Dot Autry Stone, and children and grandchildren who adored him: Angie (Ken) Godbold, Jacey Stone (Jeff Burr), and Jason (Jen) Stone; his grandson Stone Godbold, and three granddaugthers, Raychel, Leah and Jenna Stone; his niece, Joanna (Tony) Hall and nephews Joey (Sheree) Godwin and Jim (Shannon) Godwin; special cousin, Libby West and numerous cousins, great-nieces and nephews.

Over the years, Chief received many awards and accolades; however, the most recent, 2018 Legionnaire of the Year for Post 13, was the most meaningful as he was recognized before he was hospitalized.

Chief Stone lay in state at the Darlington County Courthouse Feb. 9 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. with his family joining him from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. for visitation. Funeral services were held Feb. 10, 2019, at First Baptist Church with burial following in Grove Hill Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to Darlington Veteran’s Memorial, c/o Danny Weaver, PO Box 62, Darlington, SC 29540. Kistler-Hardee Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.

Dr. Mary Amerson Stephens

LAMAR — Dr. Mary Dell Amerson Stephens died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. A funeral service was held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, in Christian Pathway Church with burial following in Lamar Cemetery. The family received friends Saturday evening at Belk Funeral Home Lamar.

Born in Lamar June 24, 1934, she was the daughter of the late Manley and Juanita Hooten Amerson. She received a bachelor’s degree from Coker College and a Master of Arts from Appalachian State University.

She obtained a Doctor of Education degree from Nova University where she received the prestigious Kathleen Cooper Wright School Improvement award for her dissertation.

Following her studies, she finished her career with the Darlington County School District as Educational Psychology specialist. Once retired from the public-school system, she and her late husband fulfilled her lifelong dream in establishing a Christian-centered preschool for children in Lamar. Together, they founded Christian Pathway Starting Steps School. In addition, they were instrumental with the founding of Christian Pathway Church.

She is survived by three sons, Michael (Jackie) Stephens, Donald (Kellie) Stephens, Ronald (Wendy) Stephens, all of Lamar. Grandchildren: Crystal Davis, Jeff Stephens, Jayme Stephens, DJ Knight, Reid Stephens and Kaitlyn Stephens. Great- grandchildren: Daniel, Dylan and Lauren Davis, Aiden Stephens and Christopher Knight.

She was preceded in death by her husband, James Darrell Stephens, and her brother, Jimmy Ray Amerson.

Memorials may be made to Christian Pathway Starting Steps School, 101 Chapel Hill Road, Lamar, or donate a Christian children’s book to the Library at Christian Pathway Church.

A guestbook is available online at

George William Dargan

George William Dargan, 88, died Feb. 9, 2019. Funeral services were held Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, at St. Matthew’s Church, 210 South Main St., Darlington, with Rev. Hunter Jordan officiating. Burial was at Grove Hill Cemetery, directed by Belk Funeral Home.

George was born in Darlington, Dec. 20, 1930, the second son of Edith Austin Dargan and Archie Shaw Dargan Sr. He was a graduate of St. John’s High School, Darlington, and a 1953 graduate of Clemson University.

Following his graduation from Clemson, he served in the Air Force Strategic Air Command for two years followed by nine years in the active reserve during which time he attained the rank of captain.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Hettie Roscoe Dargan, and their daughters and families: Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lucas (Cathy) Lumpkin Jr., Mr. and Mrs. William Andrew Postal, Lucas Allston Postal, Louise Dargan Postal and Robert Lucas Lumpkin III, Mr. and Mrs. James Paul (Cricket) Newman Jr., Austin Dargan Newman, her fiancé Walter Michael Smith, Mr. and Mrs. James Paul Newman III and Blake Dargan Newman.

In addition to his parents, George was predeceased by his brother, Archie Shaw Dargan Jr.

George’s faith and commitment were important aspects of his life. He was born again on Feb. 22, 1972.

He was a co-sponsor of a Bible study group for 10 years during which time he participated in over a dozen lay witness church renewal weekends in seven states. He was a devoted member of St. Matthew’s Church where he taught an adult Sunday school class and served on the Vestry.

George worked in the general insurance business for 57 years. He was president of the Darlington Chamber of Commerce and participated in industry-seeking trips to New York state along with members of the S.C. Development Board.

He was president of the Darlington Country Club when the initial construction began to build the “second nine” golf holes. He was a member of the Darlington Kiwanis Club for 60 years.

Memorials may be made to St. Mathew’s Church, Darlington.

The family received friends at 110 Williamson Place and after the service at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Archie Shaw Dargan III, 209 Cashua St.

A guestbook is available online at

Author: Rachel Howell

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