Chances are, if you passed through the Chesterfield County or Orangeburg County public school systems, whether it be as a student, parent, or employee, you crossed paths with Joe Bradham. Praised for his kindness and selfless devotion to his family, friends, and colleagues, and known for his generous spirit, booming voice, and humor, Joe was a pillar of the Cheraw, SC community for the past 34 years.
Born on December 9, 1940 in Manning, SC, Joe Thomas Bradham, Jr. was the eldest son of Corinne Otis Phillips and Joe Thomas Bradham, Sr. Growing up working on the family’s farm, Joe was no stranger to hard work and tough times. From a young age, he witnessed the economic and racial inequalities in his community and understood the power of education and public service to bring about a positive change. In 1962, he became the first member of his family to graduate university, taking a job in the Wofford College cafeteria to help cover the cost of his tuition. Receiving his B.A. from Wofford as well as his certification to teach biology and elementary education, Joe began his career as a teacher and coach in Orangeburg’s District Five.
It was Joe’s very first teaching role at Thackston Junior High School that introduced him to his future wife, Nan Elizabeth Myers. When Nan was recruited on campus at Winthrop University to teach at Thackston by the principal at the time, the principal sweetened the prospect of joining Thackston’s English department with the suggestion that he already had her ideal husband on his teaching staff. With Nan in need of a ride to visit her family in nearby Sumter on weekends, and Joe, a proud car owner, Joe and Nan’s courtship had wheels from the start. The two tied the knot in 1965 and moved to Boone, NC, so Joe could earn his Master’s degree and Principal certification at Appalachian State University. In the years that followed, Joe quickly ascended the administrative ranks in Orangeburg School District Five, serving as Principal of Mellichamp Elementary School, Thackston Junior High School, and Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, where he was instrumental in guiding and supporting the integration of Orangeburg County’s school system. Joe was appointed Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education in 1979 followed by Associate Superintendent for Administration until 1986. He also taught graduate courses in School Administration as an Adjunct Instructor in the School of Education at South Carolina State College.
With his professional career on track, Joe and Nan set out to build a family. They welcomed daughter, Laura, in 1970 and were content as three until their first son, Thomas, surprised them with his arrival in 1975. Seven years later, when their second son, Nicholas, came as yet another unexpected surprise, they decided their family was complete. Joe always liked to joke, “We were fully blessed, and it was time to make sure there were no more miracles.”
After over two decades of tenure in Orangeburg’s school system, earning his Ed.S. from the University of South Carolina, and his youngest newly potty-trained, Joe was appointed as Superintendent of Chesterfield County Schools in 1986 and moved his family to Cheraw. As Superintendent, Joe restructured the Chesterfield County public school system, overseeing a comprehensive building and renovation plan that expanded and dramatically improved the county’s school facilities and programs. Even after retiring from Chesterfield County Schools in 1996, Joe continued his commitment to education by joining Moseley Architects as a consultant to help guide the firm in the construction and design of new school facilities across the Southeast. When Joe retired from Moseley Architects in 2015, he had spent more than five decades in the public education arena.
Throughout his life, Joe sought to support his community as well as public education. Early in his career, Joe served as President of the AAAA Conference of SC High School Athletics and as Treasurer of the SC High School League. Later, he was appointed President of SC’s School Superintendents Association as well as President of both the Orangeburg and Cheraw chapters of the Rotary Club. In Orangeburg, he was a trustee of the Dick Horne Foundation, which provided educational scholarships to students, and served as a member of the Board of Directors and President of the United Way. He served on the board of Hospice of Chesterfield County and was a ten-year board member of Northeastern Technical College in Cheraw. Additionally, Joe was Chairman of the Board of Deacons for both First Baptist Church of Orangeburg and First Baptist Church of Cheraw and served in leadership positions at Cheraw Country Club, where he loved to play golf.
Joe was so proud to see his children embrace his love of education and use it to pursue their own dreams. His eldest, Laura Bradham Clark, has followed in his footsteps. After attending College of Charleston, Winthrop University, and Gardner-Webb University, she is the Assistant Principal of W.A. Bess Elementary in Gaston County and resides in Gastonia, NC. Her partner, Chris, also works in public education. Joe was particularly proud that Laura’s daughters, Virginia Reis and Avery Myers, were both accepted to his alma mater, Wofford College, where Reis graduated in 2020, and Avery will graduate in 2022. Thomas Bradham attended the University of South Carolina, then MUSC, to become a Pharmacist. Thomas now lives in Florence, SC with his partner, Charlie. Nicholas Myers Bradham graduated Davidson College as well as UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, and is a Human Resources Manager at Bank of America, living in New York City with his husband, Brett. Joe loved spending time with his brother, Bobby Bradham (Barbara Jean), of James Island, SC, as well as his sister, Phyllis Causey (Lindsey), of Conway, SC. He was predeceased by sister Catherine Eaddy (Jack) of Columbia, SC.
In the last several years, though his mobility was compromised after being diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, Joe remained strong of mind and spirit, continuing to stay active and live independently despite the disease. He was devoted to caring for Nan as she suffered with dementia, visiting her daily to hold her hand and sit by her side when she finally entered Cheraw Healthcare Nursing Home. Even during the pandemic, he persisted calling, FaceTiming, and masking up to visit her window. Earlier this Fall, Joe realized his body was giving out, and he moved into Cheraw Healthcare for a brief time. After quarantining in his room for two weeks, Joe was reunited with his wife of 55 years, Nan, for a special lunch date, where he got to hold her hand once again after over six achingly long months apart. The next day, he was transferred to McLeod Hospital in Florence, where he later passed peacefully on November 24, 2020.
A visitation was held from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM Saturday, December 19, 2020 at Kiser Funeral Home in Cheraw. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to Hospice of Chesterfield County Foundation, P.O. Box 293, Chesterfield, SC 29709 or Connie Maxwell Children’s Home – https://www.conniemaxwell.com/donate
Nancy O. Brigman
Wallace, SC/Summerton, SC
Nancy O. Brigman, 71, died Sunday, November 22, 2020. Born in Rochester, NY she was a daughter of the late William and Norma Jean Brookins O’Neill. She was a member of New Hope United Methodist Church, Wallace, SC where she cared lovingly for her church family. She also attended the Santee Summer Ministries “Boat Church”. She enjoyed reading, crossword puzzles, boating and spending time with her animals. Most of all she loved spending time with her family.
Surviving is her husband, Lacy Brigman of the home, sons, Chuck Kinard of Monroe, GA, Shane (April) Hecht of Boise, ID, a step-son, Andrew Brigman of West Columbia, SC, former daughter-in-law, Cynamin Kinard, grandchildren, Charleigh Jo Kinard, Josh Kinard, Tiffany Kinard, great grandchild, George Kinard, brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Shuford and Elaine Quick of Wallace, SC, Kay Broadwater of Wallace, SC, nieces and nephews, Shawn (Mary) Lutzen, Jimmy (Lindsey) Kurtnacker, Shuford (Tonya) Quick, IV, Jonathan Quick, Shannon (Keith) Helms, Elanya (Bradley) Bairefoot, Tammy (Keith) Broadwater, great nieces and nephews, Landon Lutzen, Mikayla Kurtnacker, Will Quick, Cameron Goins, Caden Quick, Madilyn Quick, Tyler (Jaden) Broadwater, Captain Dylan (Ashlie) Broadwater (USAF), Count Jacob Bairefoot.
She was preceded in death by her parents listed above, a sister, Kathy Kurtnacker, a brother-in-law, Kenneth Broadwater and a great niece, Alaina Brooke Quick.
The family received friends 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at New Hope United Methodist Church, Wallace, SC. A graveside service was held 2:00 PM Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at New Hope United Methodist Church Cemetery, Wallace, SC.
Memorials to: A Second Chance Animal Shelter, 5079 Alex Harvin Hwy., Manning, SC 29102.
Visit kiserfuneralhome.com to send an e-condolence.
Charles L. ‘Chuck’ Burch Jr.
MOUNT CROGHAN – Mr. Charles L. “Chuck” Burch, Jr., age 65, entered into rest on Thursday, November 26, 2020. Funeral Services were held at 3:00 PM Monday, November 30, 2020, from the chapel of Miller-Rivers-Caulder Funeral Home by Rev. Jerry McManus, Rev. Charles Teal, and Brent Taylor with burial following in the Mt. Croghan United Methodist Church Cemetery. The family greeted friends from 5:00 – 7:00 PM on Sunday, November 29, 2020, at the funeral home.
Mr. Burch was born June 24, 1955, in Chesterfield, SC, a son of the late Charles Louis, Sr. and Marjorie Watts Burch. He was a faithful, lifetime member of Mt. Croghan United Methodist Church and a member of the Ruby-Mt. Croghan Volunteer Fire Department. Mr. Burch was a retired Deputy Sheriff with over 20 years of dedicated service in law enforcement, and he was very proud of his law enforcement career. Mr. Burch will be remembered for his love for his wife, daughters, and especially his grandchildren. Chuck’s hobbies included fishing, riding his tractor, and spending time on his front porch which was known as his “happy place”. He also loved music and could play any instrument. Chuck will also be remembered for his sense of humor and for making others laugh.
Survivors include his beloved wife of 43 years, Janice Odom Burch, of the home; daughters, Jessica (Steve) Sellers of Patrick, SC, Jennifer (Robbie) Webster of Mt. Croghan, SC, and Janna Burch Jordan of Chesterfield, SC; grandchildren, Jayden and Kayleigh Sims, Luke Jordan, Mason Burch, and James, Hunter, Jessi, and Harmoni Sellers; sister, Dell (Ronnie) Chapman of Mt. Croghan, SC; nephew, Charles (Heather) Chapman of Ruby, SC; and his fur baby, Dottie Mae.
Memorials may be made to Mt. Croghan United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 26, Mt. Croghan, SC 29727.
Miller-Rivers-Caulder Funeral Home (www.mrcfuneralhome.com) of Chesterfield, SC is serving the Burch family.
Robert H. ‘Bobby’ Griffith
CHESTERFIELD – Mr. Robert H. “Bobby” Griffith, age 88, entered into rest on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. A private family graveside service, officiated by Pastor Alisha Hansen, was held in the Chesterfield Cemetery.
Due to these challenging and uncertain times, the family respectfully requests no visitors at their homes and suggests sharing your condolences by phone or on the funeral home tribute wall.
Mr. Griffith, a son of the late William Edwin Griffith, Sr., and Ora Mae Herlong Griffith, was born February 18, 1932, in Jefferson, SC. He was a graduate of Jefferson High School and attained a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Wofford College. Mr. Griffith began his career as an English teacher at Chesterfield High School, teaching from 1957 – 1958. He was a former supervisor with Chesterfield County Public Works and also a former assistant director with the Pee Dee Regional Council of Governments. Mr. Griffith was a United States Army Veteran and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with the South Carolina Army National Guard; he provided military service for his state and country for 38 years, 8 months, and 14 days.
Mr. Griffith was a faithful member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, where he served in numerous capacities throughout the years. He was a former member of the Chesterfield Town Council. Also, he was a past Commander of Chesterfield American Legion Post #74 for over 19 years. An avid outdoorsman, Bobby enjoyed farming during his earlier years, fishing, and spending time “in the country.”
In addition to his parents, Mr. Griffith was preceded in death by his son, Robert Allison Griffith, and his brothers, William Edwin Griffith, Jr., and Richard Benson Griffith.
Survivors include Betty Dalrymple Griffith, his beloved wife of 66 years; sons, Richard J. “Dick” Griffith (Ellen), of Chesterfield, SC, and Russell W. Griffith (Laura), of Fairfield, CT; daughter-in-law, Melanie Griffith (Eric Boykin), of Chesterfield, SC; grandchildren, Daniel Griffith (Victoria), Dee Griffith, Haley Griffith, Abigail Griffith, Madison Griffith, Sarah Griffith, and Emily Griffith; step-grandchildren, Shelly Catoe and Jared White; great-grandchildren, Riley Stephan, Jadelyn Griffith, and RJ Griffith; and numerous nieces and nephews.
For the exceptional care and comfort provided for Mr. Griffith and his family, much gratitude is extended to the staff of Springhill Assisted Living in Pageland and to the staff of Regency Southern Care Hospice of Chesterfield. Also, the family are most thankful for Pastor Alisha Hansen’s ever-present spiritual support and friendship.
Memorials may be made to St. Paul United Methodist Church, 305 West Main Street, Chesterfield, SC 29709 or to Chesterfield Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 388, Chesterfield, SC 29709.
Miller-Rivers-Caulder Funeral home (www.mrcfuneralhome.com) of Chesterfield, SC, is serving the Griffith Family.
Jerry March Hatcher
WALLACE – Rev. Jerry March Hatcher, 91, went home to be with his Lord Thursday, November 26, 2020. Born in Wallace, SC he was a son of the late James Henry and Frances Brigman Hatcher. He was the widower of Mary Lee Hatcher. He was a Pastor to all for over 50+ years. He sang and played the mandolin with a gospel Christian group for many years. In the ’50 he was part of a program on the radio in Bennettsville, SC. He served as the preacher for the True Gospel Emmanuel Holiness Church of Wallace, SC (charter member) and also as pastor of Trinity Emmanuel Holiness Church (27+years). He was retired from Cheraw Dying and Finishing. He was a founding member of the Wallace Water Company. He enjoyed farming and always ministering to those in need, especially the sick. Preacher was truly known as a man of God, always showing concern and compassion for all.
Surviving are his daughters, Cathey McLain and Vivian Gaithings of Wallace, SC, grandchildren, Randall Edward (Christy) Lovelace II, Amy (Joe) Rainwater, Michelle (Allen) Fuller, great grandchildren, Justin Tyler (Jessica), Kylie (Trey) Marie, Kayla and a great grandchild, Jayda.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife listed above also, sons, Mickey Brigman, Larry “Buck” Brigman, daughters, Frances Mabe, Darlene Lovelace, five brothers and seven sisters.
The family receives friends 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM Sunday, November 29, 2020 at Kiser Funeral Home, Cheraw, SC.
A graveside funeral service was held 2:00 PM Monday, November 30, 2020 at the True Gospel Emmanuel Holiness Church, Wallace, SC.
Memorials: Crescent Hospice, 1039 Cheraw St., Bennettsville, SC 29512, or the charity of your choice.
Barbara McLain James
CHESTERFIELD – Mrs. Barbara McLain James, age 86, entered into rest on Monday, November 23, 2020. Graveside services were held at 11:00 AM Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at St. John Freewill Baptist Church Cemetery in Patrick, SC by Rev. Donald Wallace, Sr. The family will greet friends following the service in the cemetery.
Mrs. James was born September 14, 1934 in Chesterfield, SC a daughter of the late Clyde and Nell Smith Burch. Barbara was a retired supervisor at Cheraw Dye and Finishing and a member of Thompson Creek Baptist Church. She enjoyed visiting with friends and loved to work in her flowers.
In addition to her parents, Mrs. James was preceded in death by her husbands, Conrad McLain and Jack James; sons, Tony McLain and Jeffrey Scott McLain; infant daughter; grandson, Gary McLain; and sisters, Madella, Lois Burch, and Marion Burch.
Survivors include her granddaughter, Jessica Nicole McLain, of Chesterfield, SC; great-grandchildren, Zach McCormick and Caden McLain; special niece, Shelby (Tommy) Bailey of Patrick, SC; and numerous other nieces and nephews.
The family would like to extend a huge thank you Mrs. Diana Yaden and Mrs. Mona Teal for the loving and compassionate care shown to Mrs. Barbara. Also, to all the ladies in the community for the visits, calls, prayers, and meals that they have provided over the last year and a half.
Memorials may be made to Regency SouthernCare Hospice of Chesterfield, 205 E. Main Street, Chesterfield, SC 29709.
Miller-Rivers-Caulder Funeral Home (www.mrcfuneralhome.com) of Chesterfield, SC is serving the James family.