Louise Dabbs Bevan was born on Nov. 18, 1925, and grew up at Dabbs' Crossroads, the only girl among five boys born to Stella Glasscock and Eugene Whitefield Dabbs Jr. She inherited her father's devotion to a large extended family and her mother's love for all things green and blooming. Her outside yard proved to be an extension of the beauty and charm found in every room on the inside of each of the 14 homes she lived in during her lifetime. With some irony, her final dwelling place was the same one where she was born and has now died 95 years later, almost to the day, on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.
Sent off to Duke University at the age of 16, with the expectations of meeting a suitable husband, she majored in music and was accepted at The Juilliard School in New York City for graduate work before marrying John M. Bevan in 1946. A man of vision, energy and an intense desire to change the world for the better, they spent many of their 54 years together moving from one academic environment to another while Jack jump-started new learning initiatives that he believed would inspire a generation of leaders across the country. In his pursuit of excellence, Louise remained the core of the family unit, raising four children, an assortment of pets and taking care of the basics required to keep children clothed and fed, bills paid, the yard cultivated and appliances functional. In her capacity as his better half, she also was admired among many for her ability to entertain large gatherings with apparent ease and to keep many stoic scholars absolutely charmed by her soft Southern wit and insights.
Never to be underestimated, a more forceful and outspoken woman emerged following her husband's death in 2000. Returning to her family home in Sumter County, she committed herself to beautifying the great outdoors in Salem Black River community as she planted significant numbers of camellia and sasanqua, small oak and pine. Woe be to the thoughtless traveler who drove down her roads and was so thoughtless as to throw trash along the side. The woman could turn fierce.
Louise served on the session of Salem Black River Presbyterian Church, the board of Goodwill Cultural Center and was a trustee of Salem Black River Cemetery. She participated in the Historical Society and the Forum of Sumter and was a supporter of Patriot Hall and all things related to music and art, both locally and nationally. A woman who stood by her word, she swore she would not die before voting in the most recent election. Four days afterwards, she became unexpectedly ill and slipped into a sharp decline.
Louise Dabbs Bevan is survived by three of her four children, Brenda Bevan Remmes of Mayesville, Elizabeth Bevan and her husband, Daniel Clodfelter, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and John Jr. and his wife, Kathryn Bevan, of Sumter.
She was preceded in death by her daughter, Megan Anne Bevan in 2004; and her son-in-law, Bill Remmes, earlier this year.
Her parting is grieved by six grandchildren and their families, Nicholas and Katy Remmes of Rochester, Minnesota, Evan and Lexa Remmes of London, England, United Kingdom, Catherine Clodfelter and Brian Lee of Raleigh, North Carolina, Julia Clodfelter and Darryl Pickler of Kannapolis, North Carolina, Alex Bevan of Brisbane, Australia, and Rhys and Maire Catherine Bevan of Chicago, Illinois; and five great-grandchildren, Genevieve, Duncan, Mack, Cy and Elsa. Having been the matriarch of a large extended family and the only member ever in their history to have survived to such a grand old age in such style, countless nieces and nephews mourn her death. She leaves a lasting impression on them all. As expected, Louise gave specific instructions for her final arrangements. She had requested that a musical memorial be held in lieu of a funeral at a time in the future that allows people to gather together once again. Her children will honor her wishes and send out invitations at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to any of the following: Salem Black River Presbyterian Church for the current restoration efforts of the sanctuary, in care of Elizabeth Bevan, 135 N. Brick Church Road, Mayesville, SC 29104; Salem Black River Cemetery Fund, in care of Nancy Wilson, 228 Haynsworth St., Sumter, SC 29150; the Goodwill Cultural Center, in care of Ruby Jean Boyd, 975 One Mile Road, Gable, SC, 29051; or if you prefer, a non-profit of your choice.
Online condolences may be sent to www.sumterfunerals.com.
Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home & Crematory, 221 Broad St., Sumter, is in charge of the arrangements, (803) 775-9386.
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