Cathy Novinger

Obituary
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    - Connie Smith
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Cathy Blackburn Novinger CHERAW Cathy Blackburn Novinger passed away November 27, 2016 at her home in Cheraw, SC after a heroic battle with ovarian cancer. She was the CEO of Palmetto AgriBusiness Council and President and CEO of Novinger QTR, Inc. Born April 7th, 1949 in Portsmouth, Ohio; she was the daughter of Leona Collingsworth Blackburn and the late Donald Everett Blackburn. She is survived by her mother; her husband of 48 years, Robert L. Novinger; her son, Dr. Travis Novinger and daughter in law, Laurie Novinger; grandchildren, Taylor Novinger and Abbey Novinger; sister, Donna Blackburn Jumper and brother in law, Henry Jumper; niece, Cristie Russell; nephew, Tyler Russel (Sarah); great niece, Emma Grace Russell; and brother in law; Dean Novinger (Lisa). Cathy received her Business Administration Degree from Southeastern Business College and was a graduate of the Edison Electric Institute's Electric Utility Executive Management Program. She moved to her adopted city of Columbia, SC in 1968 where she went to work for SCANA Corporation as a file clerk and rose to Vice President at the early age of 32, retiring as Senior Vice President in 1999. Her career as a Senior Officer and Senior Public Policy Maker for SCANA included roles in economic development, communications, labor relations, governmental affairs, strategic planning, human resources and public relations. After retiring from SCANA, she was chosen to lead the state's new agribusiness association, Palmetto AgriBusiness Council and under her leadership for 16 years, the Council became a unified voice for South Carolina's largest industry of agriculture and forestry. It was also at this time she formed her consulting company, Novinger QTR, Inc. After her diagnosis of ovarian cancer and seeing the need to educate women about this deadly disease, Cathy founded an ovarian cancer organization, today known as the Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Central SC, which brings awareness to the symptoms and the importance of early detection. She served as the organization's Board chair since 2006. She began the Coalition's signature event, the Ovarian Cancer Butterfly Release which is held every September at the State House to honor and remember those affected by ovarian cancer. She became a symbol of inspiration and hope to women who were battling this disease. An advocate for improving the quality of life in her community, Cathy earned a lifetime of achievements and honors including: the University of South Carolina Honorary Doctorate Degree of Public Service, 2011 Humanitarian of the Year, 2010 Ag Advocate of the Year, 2010 West Metro Chamber Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006 Ambassador of the Year, 1999 Order of the Palmetto, SC Historical Foundation Society Businesswoman of the Year, SC Schools Public Relations Association Outstanding Leader in Education, Ohio Council of Colleges Outstanding Private Career Graduate, SC Business & Professional Women's Career Woman of the Year, Columbia Metropolitan Magazine's Five Women of the Decade and Midlands Top 25 Influential Leaders. During her professional career, Cathy served on numerous Boards and Commissions including; Midlands Business Leadership Group, Advocated for Agriculture, SC Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, SC Office of Rural Health Board, SC State University Board of Trustees USC School of Medicine Partnership Board, SC State Board for Technical & Comprehensive Education (past chair), Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (past chair), Lexington Medical Center Foundation Board, SC Civil Justice Coalition (past chair), SC Department of Commerce Executive Committee, Midlands Housing Alliance (past chair), The River Alliance Executive Committee, USC Dean's Council-College of Hospitality, SC Research Authority Board of Trustees (past chair) and Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties (past chair). On the national level, she served on the White House Council on Rural America as chair, Southern States Energy Board Utility Advisory Council, the U.S. Business & Industry Council Board of Trustees and the Junior Achievement National Liaison. Cathy lived her life devoted to her God, her family and her community. As much as she loved her work, she loved her family even more. Her legacy will live on in the paths she has blazed, the many lived she has impacted and her profound sense of service to others. We will miss her goodness and grace. The family would like to thank Dr. Greg Konduras, Lexington Family Practice; the staff at SC Oncology Associates, especially Dr. Terry Smith and Dr. William Merritt and nurses, Kathy Chavis and Mary Leitch; Ultra Med Plus, Cheryl Evans; Gentiva and the staff at Embrace Hospice, especially Jamie Perkins, Cathy's Administrative Assistant, NRS Sandy Boozer and the Eleventh floor Palmetto Health Richland. Funeral service will be held Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church, 2003 Charleston Highway, Cayce. Burial will be in Elmwood Cemetery, Columbia. A visitation will be held Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial may be made to the Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Central SC, 602 Meeting Street, Suite B, West Columbia, SC 29169. Family and friends may sign the online guest book at www.thompsonsfuneral.com.
Published in The State on Nov. 29, 2016