MOUNT CARMEL- John Andrew McAllister, 78, the only child of the late Elizabeth Jones and Darrell McAllister of Mt. Carmel, died peacefully at the Abbeville Area Medical Center, July 23, 2007. Born on Dec. 25, 1928, he lived most of his life in Mt. Carmel, retiring in 2005 to the Due West Retirement Center.
He attended Calhoun Falls public schools and graduated from Calhoun Falls High School in 1945 with perfect attendance all 12 years. He entered Clemson University after graduation but left shortly after his freshman year when his father died, and he returned home to help his mother operate the family business that was established in 1888 by his grandfather, John A. McAllister. The business grew to include a retail furniture store, cattle and timber farm with numerous real estate holdings.
Through his public service, devotion to conservation and economic development in rural communities, he distinguished himself in numerous industries. He was the Mayor of Mt. Carmel for more than 30 years. Most notably, he was a founder of the West Carolina Rural Telephone Cooperative in 1952 where he served as president for almost 54 years. Upon his retirement in 2006, he was elected "President Emeritus". He served many leadership roles in this industry including the Board of National Telephone Cooperative Association and was awarded NTCA's Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2001. He was also named a charter member of the USDA Rural Telephone Bank Board in 1971 and continued serving for more than 35 years.
He served as the Chairman of the Savannah Valley Authority, which spearheaded the development of Savannah Lakes Village. He also served as Chairman of the Upper Savannah Council of Governments. His outstanding work earned him the first SC Economic Development Association's Lifetime Service Award in 1989, and in 1992 the National Association of Development Organizations named him the Outstanding Board Member. The Old Ninety-Six Tourism Commission honored him for his accomplishments in economic development in the Piedmont area.
Mr. McAllister was a member of the South Carolina Forestry Commission. His lifelong commitment as a steward of the land earned him the State Conservationist of the Year Award, the Tree Farmer of the Year in South Carolina, the SC Forestry Association's 1996 Charles H. Flory Distinguished Service Award and a 35-year pin of service from the McCormick County Soil and Water Conservation District. He was also recognized numerous times by SC Wildlife Federation and SC Land Resources Commission, and served on the RC&D Council.
He served as Chairman of the John de la Howe School Board of Trustees, member of the McCormick County Arts Council and the MACK Foundation. He also served on the Board of Trustees at Erskine College, Board of Visitors and National Alumni Council at Clemson University, and Parents Council at Converse College. He is Director Emeritus for Piedmont Technical College Foundation and was awarded the Presidential Medallion for Distinguished Service. He was also on the Drummond Center Board of Directors.
In 1986, Gov. Richard Riley awarded him the Order of Palmetto, the highest service award given to a private citizen in South Carolina. He was bestowed with an honorary degree Doctor of Humanities from Erskine College in 1989 and an honorary degree Doctor of Laws from Clemson University in 1990.
Based on his lifelong support of the Boy Scouts of America, he was the recipient of the Silver Beaver Award, the highest volunteer citation given by Scouting. He was instrumental in the organization of the Willington-Mt. Carmel Volunteer Fire Department. He was also a member of the Calhoun Falls Lions Club, a lifetime member of Calhoun Falls Masonic Lodge No. 283, and a charter member to the Mt. Carmel Yacht Club. He served as an elder of the Abbeville-Mt. Carmel Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two infant sons: James Jones McAllister and Darrell Wesley McAllister.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Catherine Mae Harter formerly of Ninety-Six; son John A. McAllister Jr., and wife Carolyn C. Matthews of Columbia; son T. Edwin McAllister and partner Paul Meyer of Washington DC; daughter Cathy M. Watson and husband, J. Calhoun Watson of Columbia; son Westley D. McAllister, and wife Angel. F. McAllister of Mt. Carmel; and daughter Mary S. McAllister of Columbia. He leaves behind grandchildren: Anne Leigh and Sarah Elizabeth McAllister of Shelbyville, Ky.; Catherine Tatum Watson, Joseph Calhoun ("Jay") Watson, Jr., Elizabeth Kirkland ("Bess") Watson of Columbia, Thomas Edwin McAllister of Anderson, Charles Jacob ("Jake") McAllister of Mt. Carmel and Austin A. Bruner and husband Collin Bruner of Charleston.
The family will receive friends at the Bowie Art Center 2 Bonner Street Due West from 5:00 until 8:00 PM. Wednesday, July 25, 2007.
Funeral services will be conducted Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 2:00 from the Due West A.R.P. Church, Due West, SC, with the Dr. Rev. Randle T. Ruble and Rev. Lee P. Kennerly officiating. The burial will follow in the Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Hwy 81, Mt. Carmel, SC.
Mr. McAllister's body is at the Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home 208 South Main St. Abbeville, SC, where he will be available for viewing from noon until 8:00 P.M. Wednesday evening.
The family is at the home of Ed McAllister Main St. Mt. Carmel, SC.
Pallbearers are Ernie Segars of Laurens, Dave Herron and Mack Beaty of Abbeville, John Shiflet of York, Mike Copeland of Columbia, Moses Gray and Mike Fowler of Mt. Carmel, and Jennings McAbee of McCormick. Honorary Pallbearers are Board of Directors and employees of West Carolina Rural Telephone Cooperative.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: Foundation for Rural Service, 4121 Wilson Blvd., Tenth Floor Arlington, VA 22203-1801; Due West Retirement Center Building Fund, P. O. Box, 307, Due West, SC, 29639 and Erskine College Scholarship Fund, P. O. Box 608, Due West, SC 29639
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