Walter Elliott Limehouse, Sr,, of Summeville, acknowledging increasing frailty at 97, said after every family visit, “See you soon…if nothing happens.” Friday, June 12, something did – he died peacefully at home, close to family in person & Zoom connection. His life demonstrated faith, hope, & love. During his last year, he experienced dementia. He repeated frequently, “5 boys, Ma Jane” – my grandmother’s close black friend & midwife Jane Salter. He grew up with his brother, James, at Epworth Children’s Home. Uncles had scooped him from the Ashley River at Bacons Bridge as he played with black buddies (after brother, Barney had died) – and after a black man working with my farmer grandfather assassinated him – by accident, wrong boss. 1930’s SC politics: Uncle Bossy was running for sheriff – Peter was not lynched. Dad graduated from Epworth and started Wofford College before World War II service in the Army Air Force teaching others use turrent guns on B-24 bombers. Home from war, he completed college with a business degree from The Citadel. He met Frances Mae Malphrus behind Uncle Ashley’s store at Limehouse Crossroads, across the street from where he was born. They were married 50+ years, but early he named my sister, Sara Francine (L. Rowland), for my mother & his high school sweetheart – Dad loved long. In Charleston, while managing Firestone’s store on Mary St. (now site of the Visitors’ Center), he opened their home to feed & shelter family and friends. Returning to Summerville in 1953, he organized drills for the local National Guard unit. He ran his own tire business with brother, Ernest, in mid-1960-70’s. Always civic minded, he was a member, Past Master, long-term Secretary of Summerville Masonic Lodge No. 234, and organized its DeMolay Chapter for boys. On faith, he left Summerville Baptist to help found Old Fort Baptist Church, where he and Uncle George Malphrus built & hung the cross which faces Dorchester Road on the first sanctuary. He drove to Church regularly until last year. In mid 70’s he served on Dorchester County Council & in 1976 became County Assessor. He secured the first aerial property maps for Dorchester County, aggressively lobbied for equitable taxation, encouraged education for the SC Association of Assessing Officials, serving as President in 1986. Upon “retirement” in 1992, he founded and managed the Summerville Farmers Market for the next 20+ years. His two children, Walter, Jr. & Fran, each have 3 children & his 5 great-grands. Two great-grandchildren are biracial, loved all 5 with open arms. Mom died in 2004. Dad met Barbara Jean Lane, herself widowed & selling flowers at the Farmer’s Market – they married in 2006. He a traditional Southern Baptist, active hardcore Democrat & poll manager / she a cradle-Catholic & New York Republican by way of California – but new love, new life at 84 – and again opened arms to new family, her 5 children, many grands, & great-grands. Eventually retiring from The Market, he worked in Barbara’s garden & yard – he loved planting – until last year when health concerns for Barbara & Dad’s dementia intervened. He decided he was old enough to grow a beard. He settled early this year at Summerville Estates to be near Barbara. Vernita Baker was his primary caregiver & friend from Detroit, where her father died with COVID. By Grace we found her & by Mysterious coincidence her great-great-grandmother may have been Jane Salter. Black lives really do matter. Dad lived by faith, open-hearted optimism, and love. The role of our family patriarch & matriarch shifts to his surviving brother, Richard & Lucille Limehouse. His funeral on Sunday, June 14, is private, with burial at White Church Cemetery. Old Fort Baptist will host his Celebration of Life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we would welcome contributions in Dad’s memory to Epworth Children’s Home, Columbia ( or Old Fort Baptist Church, Summerville ( A memorial message may be written to the family by visiting our website at ARRANGEMENTS BY JAMES A. DYAL FUNERAL HOME, 303 SOUTH MAIN STREET, SUMMERVILLE, SC 29483 (843)873-4040.

Posted in: Post and Courier

Posted on: 2020-06-15

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