The Model A suited him to a T
By Samantha Lyles
When Cecil Weatherford passed away Aug. 23, Darlington lost one of its most familiar sights and one of its most benevolent native sons.
“He was one of a kind,” says daughter Shannon Pickens. “Easygoing, everybody liked him. He was a hard worker and a family man, and he loved old cars.”
A gifted mechanic, Weatherford enjoyed restoring classic vehicles, including a beautiful Ford Falcon that he worked on for years. Though he put a lot of work into reviving that white convertible – complete with a sporty red stripe – his most famous project car was considerably older.
“It was a Model A. … I believe it was a 1931,” says Pickens.
Cecil used the eye-catching vehicle to advertise for Shannon’s salon business, slapping magnetic signs on the doors and tooling around town. He also enjoyed entering the car in parades, where he and his grandkids would toss out candy, honk at spectators and generally have a high old time.
He was a fixture around the hair salon, arriving each day a few hours before opening to start up the heat or air conditioning so customers and staff were comfortable. Cecil also put his mechanical skills to use by fixing almost anything that needed repairs or tweaking.
“Anything we had a problem with, he was right there to fix it, from spraying ants to plumbing or whatever,” Shannon says. “And he would make sure we all kept everything straight. It was an inside joke that he was our state board inspector, because if he saw that something wasn’t right he would tell us that wasn’t state board approved.”
Weatherford took on the job of security guard as well, making bank deposits for the salon every day. Customers got so used to seeing him and chatting about their lives that many of them began referring to him as “Papa.”
“Even the ones who were his age or older would say, ‘Hey, Papa!’ ” Pickens recalls.
His social nature brought many friends to his McIver Road home over the years for swimming parties, barbecues, and to enjoy watching NASCAR races, where Cecil cheered on his favorite driver, Kevin Harvick.
Cecil was predeceased by his parents, Benny Weatherford and Earline Purvis Weatherford, and his siblings, Benny, Roy, Eli, Thomas, Willie, Ruth Odom, Joyce McInville, Mildred Lewis, Mary Francis McQueen and Lois Reddick.
He is survived by his children, Shannon Weatherford Pickens (Brian) and Scottie Weatherford (Lacie); his grandchildren, Blair Weatherford (Jerry), Baker Pickens (William Stokes), Destiny Pickens, Jacob Weatherford, Ryanne Weatherford and Paisley Weatherford; his great-grandchild Whitley Weatherford; his sisters, Iona Morse and Joanne Lyons; his brother-in-law Edward “Ed” Lewis; and his nephews, Tommy Weatherford and David Reddick.
Visitation was held on Tuesday, Aug. 25, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kistler-Hardee Funeral Home.
A funeral service was held on Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m. at the same location, and Cecil was led to his final resting place by his beloved Model A.
If you would like to honor him, the family suggests either flowers, a contribution to McLeod Hospice (555 E. Cheves St., Florence, SC 29501), or you can leave a contribution in his memory by generously tipping your waitress after you eat breakfast, which was Cecil’s favorite meal of the day.