1928 Fred 2013

Fred K. Norris, Jr

February 25, 1928 — May 11, 2013

EUTAWVILLE--Frederick Keating Norris, Jr., of St. Julien Plantation, Eutawville, S.C., entered the presence of his Lord and Savior on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Born on February 25, 1928, he was the son of the late Fred K. Norris, Sr., and Gladys Udell Duggan. He was predeceased by a sister, Carolyn Norris Canupp of Anderson, S.C. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary Ann Norris; five children: Carolyn Ann Norris (Roger Velasquez) of Durham, N.C.; Mary Elizabeth Norris Mitchell (Dale) of Blythewood, S.C.; Fred K. Norris III (Tracy) of Charleston, S.C.; Robert R. Norris (Carlotta) of Eutawville, S.C.; and Martha Norris McNeill (Dave) of St. Cloud, Fla.; nine grandchildren: Alexander Norris Velasquez, Justin Norris Mitchell, Leslie Mitchell Gearles, Jonathan Paul Mitchell, F. Keating Norris IV, Julia Ann Norris, Ramsey Norris, Andrew McNeill, and Daniel McNeill; and three great-grandchildren, Connor and Caroline Mitchell, and Brooke Gearles. A lifelong resident of Eutawville, Norris graduated from Eutawville High School in 1945. Upon graduation, Norris entered Clemson, where he earned a degree in agricultural engineering. He was in the marching band, on the drill team, and served as the head officer in the Senior Platoon. He was a member of Blue Key, Tiger Brotherhood, Baptist Student Union, and the Senior Council. He received his commission from the U.S. Air Force upon graduation in 1948 and returned to Eutawville to farm in partnership with his father at the family's farm. He married his sweetheart, Mary Ann Ramsey, of Brevard, N.C., in 1951. Together, they raised their five children and were married for 61 years. Norris was called to active duty in 1953 and was stationed in Sioux City, Iowa, until 1955, when he returned to Eutawville to continue a career in farming that spanned nearly five decades. He was joined in partnership by his son Robert in 1984. His love for God and deep faith in Jesus Christ influenced every area of Norris's life and work. Though he never sought the limelight, he was sought out for his wise, steady leadership, and served on numerous boards and in a variety of agricultural, educational, community, and church organizations. As owner and operator of St. Julien Plantation, Norris used conservation practices and land and forest management techniques that were recognized at the local and state levels. He was a commissioner of the Orangeburg Soil and Water Conservation District and served for 33 years. In 1982 he was appointed to the S.C. Land Resources Commission by then-Governor Richard W. Riley and served as a commissioner until 1987. Norris was appointed "Commissioner Emeritus" of the Orangeburg County Conservation District in 2005. He served as committee chairman of the S. C. Association of Conservation Districts. Norris was elected in 1978 to the Corporate Board of Gold Kist, Inc., a farming cooperative, and served in that capacity for more than 20 years, becoming vice-chairman of the board in 1993 and later chairman of the board. He was a member of its Executive Committee and became a member of the Southern States Cooperative corporate board in 1999, when it acquired Gold Kist. Norris was a past president of the Holly Hill Young Farmers, a former trustee of the Holly Hill Public School District, and a member and past president of the Holly Hill Lion's Club. He served on the Board of Directors of the First National Bank of South Carolina for 27 years. He was a life member and former worshipful master of Vance Lodge No. 230 A.F.M. A member of Corinth Baptist Church throughout his life, Norris was a Sunday school teacher, chairman of the church's building campaign, member pastor search committees, choir member, and deacon for many years. He especially enjoyed his years of leadership of the RAs (Royal Ambassadors) at Corinth. He was named Deacon Emeritus during a special celebration honoring his years of service in 2003. His profound interest in Christian education led to his affiliation with Charleston Southern University, formerly the Baptist College at Charleston, where he was a member and later chairman of the founding board of trustees. He served as chairman of the executive committee of the university, chairman of the board of trustees, and secretary of the Baptist College Foundation. He received an honorary doctor of humane letters from the institution in 1972. Numerous students have been influenced and assisted through his generosity to the university. Norris had an avid interest in history, particularly local history. In 1981 Norris served as chairman of the Eutaw Springs Bicentennial Committee, organizing festivities commemorating the Battle of Eutaw Springs. He was a member of the S. C. Historical Society and the Charleston Historical Society. Always a gentleman, Norris was a faithful, devoted husband and loving father and grandfather. He loved spending time with his family and extended family, and often was called on to help organize family reunions. Genuine, sincere, and humble, he was loved for his sense of humor, warmth, and outgoing nature. Despite his many accomplishments and honors, when asked what his life's work was, he would reply, "I'm just a farmer." As a dedicated keeper of the land, the seeds he sowed were countless acts of kindness in the lives of his family and all those he influenced. The family would like to thank his devoted caregivers: Jean H. Brooks, Mary Anthony, Wanda Green, Elease Jackson, Alice Snell, Rose M. Williams, Vicki Ellen Stine, and Annette Marchant for their loving care and for all the Grove Park Hospice nurses and staff who served diligently and were a ministry to Norris and his family. These included Tammy Irick, Kena Riser, Florence Kopalo, Alfreda Ryant, and Ken Hay, Chaplain. Visitation will be held on Monday, May 13, from 6-8 p.m. at the family's home, St. Julien Plantation, in Eutawville. The service will take place at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 14, at Corinth Baptist Church on Highway 310 between Holly Hill and Vance, S.C. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Pallbearers will be Justin and Jonathan Mitchell, Nathaniel Gearles, Andrew McNeill, Lockwood Hart, and Brian McClellan. Honorary pallbearers will be Alexander Velasquez, Ramsey Norris, and Daniel McNeill. Memorials may be sent to Corinth Baptist Church, P.O. Box 69, Vance, S.C., 29163 or to Grove Park Hospice Care, P.O. Box 701, 1324 Grove Park NE, Orangeburg, S.C., 29115.
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