75 YEARS AGO - 1943
A fire, which firemen said might have been smoldering since early in the day, swept through the Neill O'Donnell building in the first block of West Liberty Street, leaving in its wake damage estimated by some sources at more than $100,000. The fire was first discovered by P.J. Gallagher, who saw the smoke from his store and phoned in the alarm at approximately 6 o'clock. A number of women had been cooking on the second floor of the building, which is occupied by the YWCA, in preparation for two large banquets scheduled to be held in the building last night. Some of them reported having smelled smoke but said they had not spotted any fire and so did not sound the alarm.
• Formal opening of the new Non-Com club at Cherryvale, former home of the U. S. Engineers in this area, will be held within the next 10 days, it was announced by S-Sgt. Henry K. Graul, president. Graul said he has assurance of the contractors that the building will be completed in time for a formal opening between Jan. 10 and Jan. 14. Delay in opening the club has been due to several conditions beyond the control of the group's officers. Inclement weather caused trouble in painting and plaster work and priorities on certain necessary materials held up actual construction for several weeks.
• The drastic new regulations have forced Sumter High to cancel all basketball games with outside competition this year, Coach John D. McMillan announced today. Several games with other high school teams in the Palmetto State had been scheduled for the Gamecocks, but when the ban on pleasure driving was inaugurated, Sumter officials immediately curtailed their 1943 schedule. The Sumter coach said that it would not only be an expensive matter, but it would tax public carriers to travel on the trains and buses to other cities.
• Last Friday evening the Sumter Y Midgets won their first basketball game of the season by defeating a group of players selected partly from the Midget and partly from the Junior Squad, 28-15. The game was a typical first game effort, with little teamwork and practically no defense shown by either team. Louis Bryan and Dan Trotter, guards for the Midget regulars, divided most of the scoring between them, with Bill Bradham and Ed Hartin at forwards, scoring 5 points for the losers.
• Sumter High's 1942-43 basketeers will open the new season on the local high school court, opposing Shaw Field's unbeaten team. The Gamecocks concede to be small but scrappy. They will be small, but fast. Included in the starting lineup will be several former YMCA cagers. Otis Moore, Jug Mooneyhan, Scriven Brunson and Tommy Hughes will be included in the opening lineup.
• A special program was held at Edmunds High for Mr. Stoddard, who was recently called to active duty in the Marine Corps. The students gave him a wristwatch, and the faculty also presented him with a gift. Scriven Brunson, president of the student body, presided at the meeting and presented the students' gift to the principal, and Jack Chandler gave the faculty's present. Superintendent Shaw spoke in behalf of the City Board.
• Covered wagon days have returned to Sumter, at least for the golfing members of the Sunset Country Club. If a person should peer out of his window and see a horse plodding by with a covered wagon drawn behind, he needn't fear that it is a shade of his pioneer grandfather. It will probably be Quintard Heath, Ryan Kennedy, Bit Wilder, Dr. Alex Heise and a few other local golf enthusiasts on their way an afternoon round. The idea was conceived by A.T. Heath Jr., son of the club's owner, who was determined not to let gas rationing interrupt one of Sumter's favorite sporting activities.
50 YEARS AGO - 1967
Sept. 11 - 17
Police Lt. Frank Rawlinson is hanging up his cap, badge and pistol after serving for 26 years on the Sumter Police force. Rawlinson is 60. He liked police work, and he is reluctant to leave the department but states, "I'm retiring because of my health." His fellow police officers honored him for his long service at an appreciation dinner at the American Legion Home.
• Harry E. Wilkinson Jr., prominent banker and civic leader, was honored for his services as chairman of the Sumter Area Technical Education Commission at a dinner given by new chairman C.C. Goodwin at the Cliff House near Shaw Air Force Base. Wilkinson recently retired as chairman after holding this post since the beginning of the TEC program in 1961. Among the guests at the steak dinner were the entire Sumter County Legislative Delegation, TEC board members, Enoch Smith Jr., representing the state TEC division, and many civic leaders.
• Edmunds High School seniors open a record-breaking $16,500 magazine sales goal as they follow the tradition of many years standing. The sale, which runs for two weeks, will be conducted by members of the class, who will be knocking on doors all over Sumter during the drive. General manager is Roy James, who will be assisted by Al Towery. Secretary of the drive is Susan Dabbs, treasurer, Jackie Worrell. Publicity will be handled by Chery Swindol, Gigi Mabry, and Frances Alston. Senior class sponsor is Miss Betty Payne.
• Construction on a 60-unit, low rent, nonprofit apartment project being sponsored by Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church is expected to get underway within two weeks. J.H. Delk, building official, issued a permit to E.C.B. Construction Co. of Sumter authorizing it to begin work on 11 buildings which will house the 60 units. The estimated value of the buildings was set at $485,148. The project will be in the northern section of the city, east of North Main Street and south of Lafayette Boulevard and north of College Street.
• The Sumter Little Theater, despite monetary shortages in its fundraising campaign for a new building, is hopeful of breaking ground at the site of its proposed new home by late fall or early winter. Marvin Trapp, chairman of the fundraising drive that began in 1965, said that plans are incomplete for obtaining the $30,000 needed to complete the $80,000 sum estimated by the architectural firm of Demosthenes, McCreight and Riley for building the proposed theater.
• Lance Cpl. Marcus Brown Jr. was fatally wounded in Vietnam on Aug. 28. He was born in Sumter County, June 9, 1947, son of Marcus and Rosena D. Brown. He attended Salterstown School in Sumter and later moved to Baltimore, Maryland, with his parents where he completed his high school education. He was interred in the National Guard Cemetery. Full military rites were accorded.
• Joseph Armbrust, music teacher at Alice Drive Junior High School and organist and choirmaster of Episcopal Church of The Holy Comforter, will give an organ recital at Trinity Methodist Church. The public is invited to attend.
25 YEARS AGO - 1992
Greg Crolley, who has served as the interim athletic director at Furman High School, has officially been named the school's head football coach and athletic director. The Sumter School District 2 board approved the move, and Crolley was informed by interim superintendent Frank Baker.
• The ban on storing corpses at Lee County Memorial Hospital was a "gross misunderstanding" between the county coroner and hospital officials, hospital administrator Ed Ochal said. Lee County Coroner Murdic Hancock received a letter from hospital officials telling him he could no longer store corpses in vacant rooms at the hospital, a practice he has followed for the past several years.
• The parents of Jamie Rembert and Leslie Ann Teseniar never had to complain about F's on their children's report cards. They never had to complain about D's or C's or B's either. Jamie and Leslie Ann both made straight A's from first grade through their senior years. The two Sumterites are '92 Wilson Hall School graduates.
• The Sumter Post 15 baseball team had an impressive season last year, and its pitching was one of the reasons. Wally Maynard carried Sumter to a 30-10 record and a state title. But now Maynard's gone, and 15-year-old Chad Hoshour is left to fill some tough shoes. Hoshour shared time on the mound last year with Maynard, Vic Boykin, Chris Rembert and Mike Stamps. Hoshour, who finished last season with a 5-4 mark and a 3.64 earned run average, said he doesn't anticipate a Maynard type year - he just wants to win,
• Rita Foxworth's road to retirement, like that of most workers, courses a long road. But this 48-year-old is carving a shortcut, and it runs smack dab through the middle of Summerton's newest downtown eatery. She begins her day at 4:30 a.m. when she rises to make the trek from her home to the Hughes Aircraft Corp. plant in Orangeburg. She finishes sometime after 11 p.m. with the counting of the receipts from Garfield's Deli & Restaurant in Summerton. Foxworth opened the restaurant hoping it will allow her to retire from the 9-5 job in a few years.
• Jamie Hood had a rough start on the mound for Dalzell, but he made up for it at the plate. Hood nailed two home runs to lift Dalzell to a 12-6 American Legion victory over Bishopville Post 29. Hood walked the first three batters in the first inning and gave up four runs. Joe Watson replaced Hood halfway through the inning. Watson came in and pitched three shutout innings before giving up a run in the top of the fifth.
• Sumter School District 2 trustees will talk with Interim Superintendent Frank Baker to explore the possibility of naming him superintendent. "We feel that Frank has been doing a good job, and we're going to talk to him before we decide whether to go out on a search," board Chairman Louis Tisdale said.
• Sumter County Council elected Vice Chairman Joe Davis as its new chairman. Former Chairman Ruben Gray announced he was stepping down from his post as council chairman. Gray, who has served on council since 1985 and as chairman since 1988, was elected to a family court judgeship in the 3rd Judicial Circuit.
• One of Sumter's most prominent and best-known ministers will leave the First Presbyterian Church and head to Pennsylvania. Jeff Aiken announced that he has accepted a job as senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Aiken, 50, became pastor of the local church in 1980. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana., native has been in the ministry since 1969.
• Sumter City Councilman Bill Painter filed to run for re-election to his District 5 seat, and state Rep. Michael Baxley filed for re-election to his District 65 Seat. The two Democrats will run in the August Democratic primary. Painter, 54, is a retired Sumter School District 17 administrator and a former Alice Drive Middle School principal. Baxley, D-Hartsville, was first elected in 1986. District 65 includes parts of Lee, Kershaw, Chesterfield and Darlington counties.
• Jim Valvano, the colorful former North Carolina State basketball coach and television analyst, has cancer, Valvano's agent and a television network say. ESPN, the sports network Valvano went to work for after leaving the Wolfpack.
Reach Sumter Item Archivist Sammy Way at email@example.com.