Betty Durr Sojourner died unexpectedly at her home in St. George, South Carolina on December 1, 2019 at the age of 89. She was a caring daughter, a supportive wife, and a loving mother and grandmother.
Betty was the eldest child of C. Haskell Durr and Rachael Betsill Durr. She was born on December 21, 1929 at the home of her maternal grandmother, Mabel Betsill, in Orangeburg, South Carolina. After graduating from St. George High School, Betty attended Massey Business College in Jacksonville, Florida and then returned to St. George where she worked for several years as a legal secretary for J.D.Parler, a legendary trial lawyer and influential state senator. Her work with Senator Parler fostered the development of her skills as an executive secretary and her life-long interest in politics.
Betty married David C. Sojourner on April 24, 1954 and they lived, worked and raised their family together in St. George for nearly 65 years. David was the owner of Sojourner Chevrolet Company and served for many years as mayor and municipal judge. It has been said that behind every great man there is an even greater woman keeping him in line. Betty relished this role. Her primary vocation was to serve as David’s ardent supporter, private secretary, and personal cheerleader. A stickler for protocol, she knew where he needed to be, what he needed to wear, who he needed to speak to, and what he needed to say.
Betty was a supportive parent and grandparent. She joyfully served as a Cub Scout Den Mother for Dave’s scout troop, hosted Ruthie’s college friends at parties at the family’s river house, and attended grandchildren’s sporting events, recitals, award ceremonies, and graduations.
Betty was an active member of St. George United Methodist Church. She arranged flowers, polished brass, remained active in her women’s circle group and Sunday School class, and supported the annual Tea Room fundraiser with the highest level of enthusiasm – working for weeks in advance to prepare baked goods and artichoke relish. Betty donated funds to help establish the church’s preschool program and served on its board for many years. Betty was also a member of the Rose Garden Club. She loved her camellias and shared them generously with friends and neighbors. She was an exceptional baker, cook, and canner and you never, ever left her home empty handed.
Betty loved to knit and there were always skeins of yarn within her reach. She made blankets and booties for new babies, clothes for children’s dolls, and afghans and sweaters for her grandchildren. In her later life she would say “don’t worry about me – all I need is a knitting needle and a place to sit.”
Betty loved traditions and Indian Field Campmeeting was one of her favorites. She grew up within a mile of the campground and her father and grandfather both served as caretakers there. She loved baking cakes, inviting guests to join us at Tent 87 each year, and sharing stories of her childhood campmeeting years.
Most of all, Betty loved David - fishing with him in the Edisto River, crabbing and shrimping with him near Sheldon, helping him entertain for a crowd, writing a first draft of every letter he wrote and every speech he gave, and, in his last years, serving as his primary caregiver. She has missed him every day since his death in April of this year.
She was very proud of her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren. She celebrated Thanksgiving with all of them at the family farm in Denmark South Carolina on Thursday before her death where she brought the sweet potatoes, the gravy, the dressing, and three desserts.
Betty was predeceased by her parents and her brothers, C. Hampton Durr and John A. Durr. She is survived by her children, David C. Sojourner, Jr. (Julianne) of Columbia and Ruth S. Tripp (Ron) of St. George, and grandchildren, John Walker Sojourner (Alex) of Columbia, Ellis M. Sojourner of Charleston, and Sojourner G. Tripp of St. George.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday, December 3rd from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm in their home at 605 Horne St. in St. George and on Wednesday, December 4th from 10:00 am till 11:30 am at Bryant Funeral Home. The funeral service will be held at St. George United Methodist Church on Wednesday, December 4th at 2:00 pm and a graveside burial service will follow at the family cemetery at Sykes Creek Farm, 324 Sykes Road, Denmark, SC at 4:00 pm.
Memorials may be made to the David and Betty Sojourner Memorial Fund at St. George United Methodist Church, 120 N. Parler Avenue, St. George, SC 29477.
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