Josephine Bowick Abney, 101, passed away peacefully on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at her home surrounded by her loved ones and her devoted caregivers.
She was born on March 8, 1919 in McCormick, South Carolina and was the daughter of Florence Young Bowick and Joseph Caldwell Bowick. She was the widow of John Sydney Abney.
Josephine was blessed with an extraordinary beauty and exuded grace, charm, intelligence and poise.
Her warmth and generous spirit rewarded her with countless friends of varied ages and backgrounds who lived all over the world. Many of these lasting friendships were formed on her travels within the United States as well as Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Australia, and Africa. She enjoyed recounting various adventures while traveling such as riding a camel in Egypt. Her daughter and son were fortunate to accompany her on many such exciting excursions.
Josephine was a supporter of various educational, artistic, and medical causes across the state and country. She served on the State Tax Study Commission (for Governor John West and Governor James Edwards), the Bar Merit Selection Committee (for Governor James Edwards). She also served on the Self Regional Hospital Foundation, and the Bowers-Rodgers Home for abused children.
She established a Professorship of Oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina, which was the first of its kind in the state and the eighth in the nation.
The Women’s Center at Self Regional Medical Center is named in her honor. She was also a founding member of Hospice in Greenwood.
She supported several institutions of higher learning. She was a founding member of The Baptist College of Charleston, now Charleston Southern University. She served on the Columbia College Board of Visitors and established a Lecture Endowment Fund at Columbia College. She received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree from Lander University in May 2006. The Cultural Center at Lander is named in her honor.
Governor Richard Riley awarded her the Order of the Palmetto and designated her the “Palmetto Lady” in 1987.
She served on the State Museum Board. She was also the Honorary National Chair of the International Piano Competition in Palm Beach, Florida. She also was a supporter of the Desert Samaritans for the Elderly in Palm Desert, California.
She contributed to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union. Mount Vernon named the Library Entrance Hall and Porte-Cochere in her honor.
She delighted in being a member of long-standing in the Unit I Garden Club in Greenwood. She was looking forward to being recognized as the oldest member of the Club at an event that was supposed to take place last spring. Sadly, it was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She established the Abney Garden at Lander University. She was happiest when spending time in her garden and talking with other gardeners.
She was the consummate hostess and loved to “set a pretty table,” as she used to say. She enthusiastically invited friends over for lunches and parties. She frequently welcomed brides-to-be to have their wedding portrait photographed at her home. She immensely enjoyed having her great-grandchildren enliven the house.
In addition to her parents, Mrs. Abney was preceded in death by her husband, her grandson, John Sydney Abney III, and her granddaughter, Katherine Peronneau Waring.
She is survived by her daughter Janice Duffie Waring and her son-in-law Thomas Waring of Charleston, and her son John Sydney Abney, Jr. of Greenwood; grandchildren Joseph Ioor Waring, II and his wife Silvia; Thomas Richard Waring, II and his wife Ashley of Charleston; Nicole Abney of Wilmington, North Carolina, as well as many relatives and close friends.
The family would like to extend long-term heartfelt thanks to the family of devoted housekeeper/caregivers, Julia Simpkins, Ollie Chiles, Brenda Carroll and Catherine Lanier for whom we feel eternal gratitude and love. Many thanks to Veronica Contreras for her caregiver attention.
We also wish to express special thanks to Kerianne Hammond of Senior Helpers and her exceptional group of nurses who provided tender care during the past few weeks; Paula Hendrix, Alexica Carroll, Khylah Fuller, Pamela Owens, Morgan Cook and Mary Allyse Malone. We are grateful to Lori Mounts, Lynn Allen and Diana Cobb from Hospice of the Piedmont for their compassionate guidance.
We offer extra appreciation to Gary Moss for his longtime service, constant vigilance and devoted assistance. We also thank Kevin Coursey for his invaluable help, watchfulness and attention to detail.
A private graveside service will be held.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Josephine’s memory to the Charleston Animal Society to the Katherine P. Waring Fund, 2455 Remount Road, North Charleston, SC 29406, or the charity of one’s choice.
For online condolences please visit www.blythfuneralhome.com