Mattie Elizabeth Beauford Besinger, widow of William Earle Besinger, passed away Tuesday, September 30, 2008. She was a long time resident of Abbeville, living 70 years on Mill Street, currently residing at Abbeville Nursing Home.
Born in Troy, SC, December 8, 1911, she was the last surviving child of Lemuel Oliver and Mattie Elizabeth Horne Beauford. Her brothers were Charlie, Buck and Jack. The sisters were Evie Hall, Lenora Drennan, Ruth Beauford and Louise Roddy.
She was a graduate of John De la Howe in McCormick, SC and John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. After working 20 years in Abbeville Mills, she decided to return to college and completed her teaching degree at Erskine College. She really enjoyed teaching school and retired from the Greenwood County School system after 20 years of teaching. In 1972 she was chosen Teacher of the Year. While working in the mill, she took a home nursing course from the Chicago School of Nursing and helped with the sick in the community. Many times she served as a midwife to the doctors. For 10 or 15 years she gave Insulin shots every day to a neighbor. Helping people was her greatest joy. She was instrumental in starting "Helping Hands" in Abbeville. For 50 years she wrote
"Lib's Locals" for the Press and Banner. She thoroughly enjoyed working with the "Sisters of the Swish" during the Bi-Centennial. Many years she was active in The Pilot Club, where she served as President and in many other offices. In 1968 she was selected as the "Woman of the Year" and in Christmas of 1994 the star on the "Lights of Love" tree was dedicated to her. In 1994 she was honored by the Governor of S.C. with one of the highest awards for her volunteer work, "The Order of The Palmetto". Very few people receive this award. She was a member and past president of the Abbeville Mental Health Association. It gave her much pleasure to plan parties and events for the consumers. She always thanked
God for giving her the ability and health to help others and how she did love that. For 25 years she was a member of the Secession Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy .It was her dream to organize a new chapter and
train others to carry on our heritage. This dream became reality in 1992 when the Mary Stark Davis Chapter #2573 was organized in Abbeville with 16 new members, with her serving as President of the Chapter. She was also a member and helped organize the Division Granddaughters. All of her accomplishments in the UDC made her worthy of the highest award given "The Winnie Davis Medal". At the time of her death she was Honorary President of the South Carolina Division of The UDC. Since the time she married her husband Willie Besinger she was a member of Grace United Methodist Church where she served faithfully as a Sunday School Teacher, MYF Leader, Lay Speaker, UMW Leader, Choir Member and almost every office in her church. She was even known to preach at times. Paul, the apostle was one of her favorites and she said as he said "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course and I have kept the faith".
Survivors include her loving daughter, Beth Besinger Burnett and her husband Dan Burnett of Monroe, GA. Grandchildren: Danette Burnett Burson and husband Mark of Lawrenceville, GA, Theresa Burnett Edwards and husband Ken of Social Circle, GA, and Jim Burnett and his wife Alice also of Lawrenceville, GA. Great-grandchildren: Jacob Burson, Jennie Nichols, Kent Edwards, Luke Edwards, JEB Edwards, Marianna Burnett, Natalie Walden, and Rachel Gardner. Great-great grandchildren: Brady, Brooke, Brielle Burson, Lana Nichols, Hailey and Michael Walden, several nieces, nephews, cousins, special friend Susie New, and also a favorite niece, Billie Brown.
The family will receive visitors at the Chandler Jackson Funeral Home on Friday evening, October 3, 2008 from 5:00 to 8:00. Services will be held Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 11:30 in the Chandler Chapel, officiated by Rev. Eddie Taylor. The burial will follow at Forest Lawn Memory Gardens, Abbeville.
Pallbearers will be grandson, Jimmy Burnett; great-grandsons, Jacob Burson, Kent Edwards, Luke Edwards, JEB Edwards; and friend, Casey Smith.
In lieu of flowers, Memorials made be made to Grace Methodist Church P O Box 1007 Abbeville, SC 29620 or Friends of Trinity PO Box 911 Abbeville, SC 29620.