Benjamin Franklin Loney, 90, died Saturday, December 25, 2010, at home. Born December 22, 1920 in Sumter County, he was the son of the late Marcus and Eva Loney.
He was educated in the public schools of Sumter County. He graduated from Lincoln High School and received his Bachelors Degree from Morris College. He earned a Masters Degree from Columbia University and did additional graduate studies at Florida State University.
He served in the United States Army during World War II. After returning from the Army, he married Sylvia Louise Atkinson. They were married for sixty-two years. From this marriage, six children were born.
Mr. Loney began his teaching career at Catchall Spann School – a Rosenwald School. (The Julius Rosenwald rural school building program was a major effort to improve the quality of public education of African Americans in the early twentieth-century South). He later taught at Rafting Creek School, Ebenezer Junior High, and High Hills Middle School. Over his long teaching career, he educated many Sumter County students by providing them with instruction in English, mathematics and wood shop. His teaching was not limited to the young; he also tutored adults who wanted to learn to read.
Upon retirement from the school system, he enjoyed working in his woodshop and his creations can be found in the homes of many of the people who were dear to him. He was well respected in the Catchall Community and for over forty years completed income tax returns for his neighbors. He helped in the preparation of financial aid documents for many college bound students in the community. He shared his knowledge freely and guided many in the preparation of employment applications and other important documents. He also served as a notary public for the State of South Carolina. When local farmers needed business advice or assistance, he was always there for them. His sense of community could be seen when he co-purchased Catchall Spann School from Sumter County School District in the early 1960’s so that it could be used as the Catchall Community Center. Many social services and self help programs were provided out of the center throughout the years for all age groups including programs sponsored by Wateree Community Actions, the CETA Program, 4 H and the Sumter County Parks and Recreation summer children’s program. The building was at one time used as the first headquarters of High Hills Rural Water Company. The building continues to be in use today by the senior citizens in the area. He was a former Boy Scout troop leader and a member of the Masons. He was baptized at Hopewell Baptist Church, where he served many years as Church Clerk.
In his leisure time, he could be found playing Solitaire, working a crossword puzzle or growing vegetables in his garden. He enjoyed spending time with his grand and great grandchildren.
Mr. Loney was pre-deceased by his wife, Sylvia Atkinson Loney. His children, Bernadine Barno, Andrea Loney, Benjamin A. Loney (deceased), Jerome Loney (deceased), Rudolph (Josie) Loney, John (Gladys) Loney and M. Floyd Wright will greatly miss him. He was also blessed with eight granddaughters; one grandson; ten great grandchildren; three sisters-in-law, Angeline Loney, Wilhelmenia Dean, and Eloise Atkinson; one brother-in-law, Ben Singleton; two special caregivers, Carrie Loney Council and Thomas Loney. As the patriarch of the Loney Family, he leaves a host of nieces, nephews and cousins to cherish his memory.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that memorials be made to the Catchall Community Center.
Funeral services will be held 1:00 p. m., Wednesday, December 29, 2010 from the John Wesley Williams, Sr. Memorial Chapel, Williams Funeral Home, Inc., 821 North Main Street, Sumter.
The family will receive friends at the home 5560 Catchall Road, Dalzell.
The funeral procession will leave from the home at 12:20 p. m.
Floral Bearers will be nieces.
Pall Bearers will be Levi Dawson, Melvin Dawson, Billy Wright, Nathaniel Pearson, Thomas Loney, Gregory Loney, and Marquelle Ricks.
Interment will be in the Hillside Memorial Park, Sumter.