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Leland Allen "Lee" Bandy

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Leland Allen Bandy June 5, 1935-October 21, 2013 COLUMBIA - Leland Allen "Lee" Bandy, a veteran journalist and longtime Washington political columnist for The State newspaper, entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior on Monday, October 21, 2013, surrounded by his family and friends. He died from complications of Parkinson's disease at the age of 78. Mr. Bandy's service will be held on Saturday, October 26, at 10:30 a.m., at the First Presbyterian Church, 1324 Marion Street in Columbia. Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas, Dr. Mark E. Ross, and the Rev. L. Craig Wilkes will conduct the Celebration of Life. Immediately following the service, the family will greet friends in Jackson Hall at the church. The burial in the churchyard will be private. Memorials are suggested for the Music Ministry at First Presbyterian, where Mr. Bandy sang for several years. Shives Funeral Home is assisting the family. Born on June 5, 1935, in Asheville, N.C., he was a son of the late Dr. Julian A. Bandy and Eunice Bascom Bandy. Mr. Bandy recalled fond memories of his childhood years in Asheville where his father was pastor of Gospel Tabernacle in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. The family moved to New York City when Mr. Bandy was in the seventh grade. He attended Bayside High School on Long Island through the eleventh grade when the family moved to Toccoa Falls, Ga., where his father became president of Toccoa Falls Institute. Mr. Bandy graduated from Toccoa Falls High School in 1953. As the second of four children, Lee Bandy was brought up in a loving evangelical Christian family that thrived in each of the communities where Dr. Bandy shared his ministry. Mr. Bandy earned a B.A. in Radio and Television Speech in 1957 from Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. He also did graduate studies at Columbia University in New York City. He served in the U.S. Army from 1957-1960, at Ft. Richardson, Alaska, where he worked in radio and television productions and hosted a weekend jazz program on a local radio station. After the Army, Mr. Bandy worked for both the Sims News Bureau (1961-1964) and the Van de Linden Bureau (1964-1966) in Washington, D.C. In 1966, he joined South Carolina's largest newspaper, The State, covering politics as the chief Washington correspondent for more than 20 years. After moving to Columbia in 1992, he continued writing for the newspaper until his retirement on December 31, 2006. In four decades with The State, he wrote more than 3,000 columns, many influencing the outcome of elections and political issues of the day. Affectionately called "Bandy" by friends, colleagues, readers, and foes alike, he moved in the halls of Congress with as much ease as he did walking the streets of small South Carolina towns. In his retirement column, Bandy said, "I will miss the 'walk and talk' tours, conducted mostly in the smaller communities. The people in those communities were a breath of fresh air. They were straightforward and honest about their feelings, and their love of God and country." With an uncanny ability to listen to the spoken word and to recall facts and figures and polls, Bandy broke many of the major political stories while covering Washington and the South Carolina Congressional delegation. When the state became the first-in-the-nation Republican primary, he knew the impact the political firewall would have on the national scene. He covered all but one national political convention from 1964 to 2004. During his career, he also served as the Washington reporter for WSPA-AM radio for many years. Bandy understood the value of building relationships on trust and protecting sources who gave him "off- the-record" information. He mentored young reporters, stressing the importance of the truth and never underestimating the common sense of the readers. He did it with respect, fairness and humor. Known as the dean of the South Carolina press corps, he received the Ambrose E. Gonzales Award for Distinguished Journalism in 1981 for his knowledgeable reporting on the South Carolina Congressional Delegation in Washington. In 2001 Bandy was named the South Carolina Journalist of the Year by the South Carolina Press Association. He was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the state's highest civilian honor by S.C. Governor Mark Sanford on January 19, 2007. Most recently, Bandy was inducted into the inaugural The State/Record Hall of Fame for journalistic excellence on August 1, 2013. A frequent speaker at civic, educational and political organizations, including Boys' State, Bandy was a regular commentator on national television. A former chairman of the Standing Committee of Congressional Correspondents, he was a former member of the White House Correspondents' Association and the Washington-based Gridiron Club. While residing in Rockville, Md., Bandy was a faithful member of the Fourth Presbyterian Church where he enjoyed singing in the choir for years. Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Mary Dygert Bandy; sons, Ryan Leland Bandy of Columbia, and Michael Lee Bandy of Oakton, Va.; and daughter, Alexa Suzanne Bandy Monte and her husband, LTC Jeffrey John Monte, and their three children, Sophia Ann, Nathaniel Leland, and Alexander Jose "AJ" of Rockville, Md. He is also survived by sisters, Grace Bandy Wingert and husband, Lamar, of Orlando, Fla., and Margaret Bandy Koppe of Bergenfield, N.J.; sisters-in-law, Margaret Koehl Bandy of Barberton, Ohio, Arda Dygert Cushman and husband, William, of Alto, Mich., Janice Dygert Moss and husband, Fred, of Alto, Mich., Jacquilyn Dygert Fennema of Kalamazoo, Mich.; brothers-in-law, Thomas Dygert and wife, Betty, of Brownsburg, Ind., and Alan Dygert and wife, Nancy, of Branson, Mo.; and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brother, Julian Lee Bandy of Seeheim, Germany, and sister-in-law, Ila Dygert Vawter Gilmore of Newaygo, Mich. Memories and condolences may be shared at ShivesFuneralHome.com.

Published in The State on Oct. 24, 2013
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