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James Madison Waddell

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Columbia - Memorial services for Senator James Madison Waddell, 80, will be held Saturday, at 10 a.m., at Eastminster Presbyterian Church. Inurnment will be Wednesday, at 2 p.m., at Beaufort National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to S.C. Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 5317, West Columbia, SC 29171-5317. The family will receive friends tonight, from 6 to 8, at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel.

Sen. Waddell died Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2003, at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center. Dedication, loyalty and an uncanny ability to get things done are his legacy. Born Nov. 1, 1922, in Boydell, Ark., he was the son of the late James M. and Mable Gibson Waddell, He went to elementary school in Greensboro, N.C., and graduated from Tennessee Military Institute in 1940. He enrolled in the Citadel in 1940 as part of "the class that didn't graduate", being sent to serve in World War II. He graduated in 1947 with a BS in Civil Engineering.

Jim Waddell was that rare kind of broad, visionary legislator who could see the present possibilities, as well as the future impact of exploiting an idea, and so, incorporated the necessary restraint and controls to assure a healthy impact. His vision brought economic development, tax restructuring, coastal and wildlife protection, and many personal freedoms to South Carolinians. His charm, tenacity, loyalty, leadership, consensus building skills, and political acumen enabled him to affect great change across party lines, and pass bills, even when others couldn't. He never sought public recognition for the things he did - he just worked quietly and diligently to get the most done. In a 1980 interview, reflecting on his career, he said, "What I have tried to do throughout my life is remember two things: The only permanent thing you work with is change, and the only way you accomplish anything is through hard work."

Jim Waddell was elected to the South Carolina House from Beaufort in 1954-58, and then to the Senate from 1960-92. During his tenure, in addition to a multitude of duties, he was particularly proud of being founder and Chairman of the South Carolina Coastal Council (OCRM), Chairman of the Finance Committee, Chairman of the Fish, Game and Forestry Committee, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Water Resources, Chairman of the Joint Legislative Tax Commission, Chairman of the Governor's Joint Committee on Mental Health and Mental Retardation and the National Task force for the Education of the Handicapped, and Chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee of Financing and Budgeting. He was appointed Tax Commissioner by Governor Carroll Campbell and was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by Governor David Beasley. Jim Waddell also established the Waddell Mariculture Center on the Colleton River near Bluffton.

There is no one who engendered loyalty and support from all who knew him, even those who disagreed with him, liked Jim Waddell. He was a World War II veteran, who received numerous decorations including the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the EAME ribbon and two battle stars. His Presbyterian faith, the Disabled American Veterans, the environment, education and people were his passion. Jim was Chairman of the Board of Trustees and was a Life Member and Trustee Emeritus of Clemson University. He was awarded doctorate degrees from Clemson, MUSC, the Citadel and the University of South Carolina.

Sen. Waddell is survived by his wife, Gail Roberts Waddell; his sons, James M. of Mount Pleasant, Michael G. of Columbia, and John S. of Walterboro; three daughters-in-law; a grandson, James M Waddell; stepdaughters, Miranda Dixon and Temple DaSilva; two stepsons-in-law; grandchildren, Riley and Amelia Dixon; and his loyal Boykin, Blossom.

Published in The Greenville News on Jan. 17, 2003
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