Landscapes 15


Jennings Gary McAbee

October 5, 1944 ~ December 17, 2017 (age 73)

Jennings Gary McAbee, Sr. passed away on December 17, 2017. He was born on October 5, 1944 in McCormick, South Carolina, the son of the late Thomas Russell and Cornelia Dorn McAbee of McCormick. Jennings will be remembered for his kindness to others and service to his community and the State of South Carolina.

Jennings attended McCormick High School where he played football and basketball. He was a 1967 graduate of Wofford College (Business & Economics) where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. After college, Jennings returned to McCormick to join the family business of M.G. and J.J. Dorn, Inc.  He then became a general contractor and owner of McAbee Building Supply in McCormick. Later, he was Owner and President of Savannah Valley Cable Company.

In the early 1970’s Jennings began his life of service to the state serving first as county magistrate (1970-1972) then as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives representing District #12 (McCormick, Greenwood, Saluda, and Abbeville Counties) from 1975 1998. His many years of service

included vice chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Tourism and Trade; SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism Commission executive committee; the influential Ways & Means Committee including 1st vice chairman and floor leader of the budget for many years; Joint Bond Review Committee; Operations &

Management Committee; House Education Committee; and House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee. He was a respected and admired member of the General Assembly. Among his noteworthy accomplishments was his role in the formation of the Joint Tourism Caucus for which the Southeast Tourism Society named him “Outstanding Tourism Legislator of the Year”.

For his tireless efforts to create a better world for those in his district and his state, Jennings was honored by numerous civic and state organizations. He cared deeply for those living with mental illness. He


fought for agencies that protected the state’s natural resources and believed in the value of the tourism industry. He was known to be a guardian for the rural areas of the state. In the late 1980’s, Jennings championed legislation that helped create Savannah Lakes Village and he worked to bring jobs to McCormick, including the state prison. In 1990, he was awarded The President’s Award from Clemson University. Jennings always put people above party. His credo was, “There is no limit to what can be done if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”

Jennings contributed to his community as a Master Mason, a 32nd Degree Mason, a Shriner, a member of the Exchange Club, American Legion, Moose Lodge, Jaycees and Lions Club. He was a former

chairman of the Cancer Society and of the Boy Scout Fund. He also served as McCormick County Economic Development Director from 1998-1999. Jennings was a lifelong member of McCormick First Baptist Church.

Survivors include his sons, Jennings Gary McAbee, Jr. (Mamie S. McAbee) and Charles Wesley McAbee (fiancé, Jessica Ellis), both of McCormick, 2 grandchildren Mattison Townes “Mattie” and Jace Alexander McAbee, his sister Connie McAbee Robinson of McCormick, nieces Vicie Robinson, Dora Robinson, great-nieces Cartha Robinson Smith (Joe), Connie Robinson and Hope Robinson, a nephew Russell McAbee, the mother of their children Patricia Townes Herring McAbee, as well as many other relatives and friends, including his fiancé, Betty Carol McKinney. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Thomas Russell McAbee, Jr., a nephew Foster Robinson, and a son, Martin Townes McAbee.

The family will receive friends at 1:00pm on Friday, December 22, 2017 followed by a Memorial Service at 2:00pm in the church sanctuary of McCormick First Baptist Church, 108 S. Oak St, McCormick, SC. The family is at the home of Jennings G. McAbee, Jr., 762 Barksdale Ferry Rd, McCormick, SC.

Honorary pallbearers will be: John DeVore “Dee” Compton, John Daniels, Jennings Gary Dorn, Ben Ferqueron, Robert E. Hall, Jones G. Herring, John A. McAllister, Jr. and John C. Shiflet, Jr.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: McCormick First Baptist Church, 108 S. Oak St, McCormick, SC 29835; Clemson University Foundation, for Martin Townes McAbee Memorial Endowment, PO Box 1889, Clemson, SC 29633 (phone: 864-656-5896); or the charity of one’s choice.




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