Sylvia Louise Atkinson Loney, 85, wife of Benjamin Franklin Loney, died on Sunday, April 19, 2009 at Tuomey Health Care System, Sumter.
Born October 13, 1923 in SumterCounty, she was the daughter of the late Thomas W. Atkinson and Hallie Miller Atkinson.
Mrs. Loney began her education at Hiawatha, a one room school located in the Claremont area of SumterCounty. She attended MorrisCollege, PaineCollege, ClemsonUniversity, and South CarolinaStateUniversity. Mrs. Loney was a dedicated member of Hopewell Baptist and NewIsraelMissionaryBaptistChurches. She was an active member of the Missionary Society. She truly believed in the power of prayer and the study of God’s Word.
Inspired by her grandfather’s challenge to her to “Uplift the less fortunate”, Mrs. Loney worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for physical, social, mental, and spiritual growth for the citizens, particularly the youth and elderly, of the High Hills Community. For many years, she served her community by operating CatchallCommunity Center. She was very active in the political arena and worked on the campaigns of several national, state and local officials. A strong believer in civil rights and peaceful demonstration, Mrs. Loney was instrumental in assisting the domestic employees at Shaw Air Force Base with receiving equitable pay; integrating the public schools, and demanding racial equality for all citizens of SumterCounty.
Mrs. Loney began her career at the Glamour Shop, where she was the first African-American employed as a sales clerk in a retail store in downtown Sumter. She began her affiliation with CatchallCommunity Center when she worked for Wateree Community Action Agency as the Coordinator of Santee Senior Services. In 1983, after serving on the Sumter County Water Board, she co-founded and became the first director of High Hills Rural Water Company. This action was monumental in that she became the first woman in South Carolina to manage the operation of a water system. Her retirement from the water company in 1995 provided her with more time to devote to her life’s passion – Coordinator of High Hills Community Development.
Mrs. Loney leaves to cherish her memories: a devoted husband of 62 years, Benjamin Franklin Loney; her children, Bernadine (Voicelle) Barno, Andrea Loney, Rudolph (Josie) Loney, John (Gladys) Loney, and M. Floyd Wright will greatly miss her. She was also blessed with eight granddaughters; one grandson; and eight great grandchildren; one sister, Wilhelmenia Dean; two sisters-in-law, Angeline Loney and Eloise Atkinson; one brother-in-law, Ben Singleton; and a host of other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by two sons, Benjamin A. and Jerome Loney; three brothers, Thomas Jr., David, and Marion Atkinson; four sisters, Harriet Alston, Thomasina Johnson, Vermelle Keith and Hallie Singleton.
Funeral Services will be held 4:00 P. M., Wednesday, April 22, 2009 from Hillcrest Middle School, 4355 Peach Orchard Road, Dalzell, with Rev. Dr. D. L. Grant, Sr., eulogist, assisted by Rev. Willie Lawson, Rev. Willie Dennis, and Rev. Dr. Mazie Butler-Ferguson.
The family will receive friends at the home 5560 Catchall Road, Dalzell.
The procession will leave from the home at 3:30 p. m.
Floral bearers will be Loretta Sanders, Delphine Bradley, Shelia Sammons, and Velma Chandler.
Honorary Floral Bearers will be Catchall Senior Citizens.
Pall bearers will be Melvin Dawson, William Wright, Daryl Atkinson, Thomas Loney, Greg Loney, Marvin Hegger, James Council and Stevie Dawson.
Burial will be in the HillsideMemorial Park, Sumter.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that memorials be made to High Hills Community Development so that her vision of a new community center can be realized.