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Thelma Chiles Clark

Thelma Chiles Clark

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MARION -- Thelma Chiles Clark, 91, died May 5 at Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community in West Columbia. She is survived by three sons, Thomas B. Clark, III and spouse Nancy Ferree-Clark of Tacoma, WA, and their daughter Elizabeth Ferree Clark; James C. Clark and partner Robert E. Grindle of Clarks Green, PA; Joseph D. Clark and spouse Wendy Hiott Clark of West Columbia, and their daughters Bradley and Lucas Clark; one sister, Irene Browning of Madison, AL; and her sister-in-law, Elizabeth L. Chiles of Greenwood. She was predeceased in 2015 by her husband of 61 years, Dr. Thomas B. Clark, Jr. She was also predeceased by an infant grandson, Marion Hiott Clark; her parents, Marion Bradley and B. I. Chiles of Greenwood; and her sisters, Vivian Counts of North Augusta and Margaret Barnes of Huntsville, AL, and her brother James Chiles of Greenwood. Thelma was born in McCormick and moved with her parents to Greenwood at a young age. She graduated from Greenwood High School and Lander College and also studied at the University of Virginia. She taught Latin, French and English at Poyner Junior High School in Florence and Dillon High School before her marriage and move to Marion in 1953, where she lived until her retirement to Still Hopes in 2009. She enjoyed cooking, writing, book club, garden club, genealogy, supper club, travel, entertaining and trips to the beach. She was a longtime member of First United Methodist Church in Marion, where she was an active member and volunteer and held many church offices. She was also an associate member of Washington Street United Methodist Church in Columbia in later years. She was several times a delegate to the SC United Methodist Annual Conference, and served as President of the Conference Historical Society. She was presented the 2011 Herbert Hucks Award for outstanding service in historical preservation by the Conference Commission on Archives and History. Thelma authored numerous historical pamphlets and articles about Marion and Marion County, including three essays for the South Carolina Encyclopedia. She was active in civic causes especially the Marion County Library Board, which she served as chair; the Pee Dee Genealogy Society; the Marion County Historical Society; the Marion County Mental Health Association; and as a hospital volunteer. She was proud of her work on many projects around town such as the refurbishment of the Marion Opera House, and she ran for a seat on the Marion City Council in the 1960s, when few women were pursuing elective office. The burial will be private. The family is deeply appreciative of the many dedicated health care professionals who lovingly cared for Thelma at Still Hopes. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to the Still Hopes Resident Assistance Fund, One Still Hopes Drive, West Columbia, SC 29169; Washington Street United Methodist Church Foundation, 1401 Washington Street, Columbia, SC 29201; or First United Methodist Church Foundation, 307 East Godbold Street, Marion, SC 29571. An online register is available at

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