The 1949 Byrnes Scholars Comment
Robert Hal Norton received his BA degree from the University of South Carolina and his Bachelor of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is retired as chaplain of the Garden City Chapel. He now spends his time working with Big Brothers and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; preaching revivals, funerals, and weddings; and conducting tours all over the US and Canada. He's still looking for a wife! Hal served as director on the Byrnes Scholars board for seven years and as president for two years, 1974-75. He was elected a director of the James F. Byrnes Foundation in 1973. He served as vice-president in 1973 and was elected president in 1974, where he continues to serve today. In 1982, he was awarded the Jake Salley Alumni Service Award. Hal says "one of the most meaningful experiences that I had" with Governor Byrnes "was kneeling by his bed a few days before 'Pop' died, and praying with him. After his death, there was another great experience. That was attending a special called meeting of the US Supreme Court that was called into session to honor the memory of this great man. They said wonderful things… It brought joy to all of our hearts, especially 'Mom' Byrnes."
Grace Miller Donaldson received her BFA in Art Education from the University of Georgia and her MTA in Art Education from the University of Tulsa. She and her husband, Erie, have five children, Vincent, Julia McConnell, Carolyn Morgan, Linda Clanton, and Frank. She has retired as Case Manager II with the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center. She writes: "My art teachers and mentors in Charleston, Bill and Corrie Halsey, advised me to go to the University of Georgia at the time because they said it had a better art department. I had to get special permission from Governor Byrnes, but he let me go there after checking on it himself. I believe he had his assistant do the checking. I later heard that he had assisted the University of South Carolina to improve the art department as a result. I don't know about that; it was a rumor I heard. There is a painting of mine at the Gibbes Art Gallery that won a purchase prize in a southwestern art show while I was at Georgia, "Palmetto Forest." I taught for two years at Charlotte, and then left with my husband for Houston and later Oklahoma. When I received the copy of the South Carolina magazine, Sandlapper, I was delighted and began reading the article about Governor Byrnes right away. Imagine my surprise when I turned a page and found a picture of my eighteen-year-old self laughing up at Mr. Byrnes from a chair in the lobby of the Francis Marion, 1951. I'm the one in the dark (blue) dress. I was so startled I asked Erle if he thought I was mistaken. He said it is me, and he remembered the dress too!"
Grace Pow Simpson earned her BS degree in English from Winthrop and her MA in English from FSU and Longwood College. She and her husband, Hassell, have three children, David, John,and Bill. She is a retired teacher.
William E. Rowe and wife Virginia have three children, Ebbie Cruddas, William Jr., and Christopher. Bill graduated from USC with a BS in chemistry and earned his MD at MUSC. He is a general surgeon. He served as a director for the Byrnes Scholars organization 1971-75 and 1978-79 and was president 1976-77. He was elected to the Byrnes Foundation Board of Directors in 1988 where he serves as treasurer. He received the Jake Salley Award in 1981.
Allen Crosby Livingston received his BS in Textile Manufacturing from Clemson. He retired as a colonel in the US Army in 1981. While on active duty, he received many commendations and awards, including: the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (with two oak leaf clusters), and the Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters.) After his retirement from service, he worked for First Citizens Bank and retired from there in 1993. He and his wife, Rose Anne, have four children, Teresa, Crosby Jr., Lisa , and Flynn, and six grandchildren.
Jean Stevens Black graduated from Coker College.
Betty Iler McManaway received her associate degree in business administration from Winthrop. Betty is retired and loving it. She had worked as an administrative assistant and office manager for an architectural firm. She and her husband, John, have three children, Debbie, Lee, and John IV, and five "wonderful" grandchildren. She remembers as a Scholar "being picked up for a dinner at the bus station in Spartanburg! What a thrill!" She says: "… Being selected a Byrnes Scholar changed my life, making me aware of what was available in life and giving me the confidence to make the most of my abilities. My mother and my older brothers and sisters gave me my moral and spiritual direction and the Byrnes gave me that extra vote of confidence and monetary means to explore the unknown and to learn life skills that have served me so well not only in my business endeavors, but in social and volunteer areas of my life. … In spite of two major illnesses for my husband, life is good, and we are thankful for the part Mr. and Mrs. Byrnes had in enriching it not only for us but our children (all are college graduates and our first grandchild will enter next year. In contrast, I was the only one in my family of ten to be able to attend college.) Sorry to have gotten so long-winded, but this is a subject close to my heart. I am planning to attend the 50th Reunion, Lord willing and the creeks don't rise!" Betty and John have a full life in retirement, doing work at their church, playing golf and bridge, hiking, volunteering at Callaway Gardens, and recently undertaking a redecorating project at their home.
Barbara Kirven Sternaman graduated from Winthrop with a degree in education. She writes: "I really feel honored to have been chosen in the first group of Scholars. College may not have been possible without it. Fond memories are always with me -- singing around the piano with Pop Byrnes, Mom Byrnes' smiling face, the great times we had at the Isle of Palms, and many more. I have not had a chance to return for any of the earlier reunions, but do plan to be there for the upcoming 50th. Hope to see Scholars I have not seen for many years. My husband, Walter, died in September, 1992. We were married for 37 happy years. Our only child, Jennifer works in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I keep busy with some traveling and crafting and needlework!"
Horace E. Gravely received his BA degree in economics from Wofford College. He and his wife, Joanne, have four daughters, Amenie, Janine, Amanda, and Joanna. Horace is a retired sales engineer. He comments: "The Byrnes were beautiful people -- no put on airs -- made you feel completely at ease. I remember how embarrassed I was one time at the Governor's Mansion when I called Mr. Byrnes (Governor) Senator. I was scared to death one time, too, when he asked me to call a square dance."
Nettie Hartzog Roberts graduated from Winthrop with a BS in elementary education. Nettie and Clyde have two children, Linda Thompson and Greg.
Maurice Brown graduated from Furman with a degree in accounting. A certified public accountant, Maurice is self-employed. He and his wife, Ann, have five children, Allison, Farah, Leslie, Walton, and Carlton. He served as a Byrnes Scholars director in 1967, 1983-84, and was president of the Byrnes Scholars 1968-69. Maurice volunteers his services to the Foundation each year at tax time and is always there to answer questions when needed.
William F. Fuller earned both his BA and MBA degrees from Harvard. He is now retired. He and Barbara are the parents of Frances, Faith, Abigail, Ruah, and Jean.
Herbert William Fletcher received his BS in agriculture from Clemson University.
Joe P. Dickson graduated from Clemson University with a BS in animal husbandry and received his LLB from Augusta Law School. He is retired as area supervisor with the Savannah River Plant where he received two "outstanding achievement" awards from the US Department of Energy for the production of plutonium used by NASA in the space programs. He and his wife, Margaret, have three children, Linda D. Rollins, Joe Jr., and William. Joe says that visiting with the Byrnes was " a grand experience!"
Robert J. Weekley received his BS in animal husbandry from Clemson. He and his wife have four children, Tim, Kathy, Bobby, and Bien.
Jack Welton Thames earned his BA in music from Furman.
Joanne Holladay Johnston received her BS in music from Winthrop. She and her husband, Coy, have three children, Holladay, Kelley, and Elizabeth.
Andrew Dickson received a BA degree from the University of South Carolina.
Deceased: Marcial Joseph Rey, John Benjamin Stanley, Sammy Joe Miller, William James Hunsucker, Jacob D. (Jake) Salley, Frank Abercrombie, Otis D. Brunson, Forrest F. Redden, Robert Ervin Faulkenberry, Mary Wheeler Davis, Jessie D. Gaskins, and Ellie Pugh Bartley.