Erleen May Stevenson Bankhead, age 95, entered into eternal rest on September 30, 2021.
Born on April 6, 1926, in Fairfield County, she was the seventh child of Edward Lee Stevenson, Sr. and Annie Amanda Stone Stevenson.
The Family's early years were spent in the Lebanon section of rural Fairfield County. Later the Stevensons moved to town and to the family home on College Street in Winnsboro.
Erleen was a graduate of Mt. Zion Institute in Winnsboro and Winthrop College in Rock Hill. She began her teaching career in Lexington, NC where she made life-long friends.
Erleen returned to South Carolina to teach and began a career in Education at Great Falls High School that spanned 28 years. Her main teaching duties were girls' Health and Physical Education. She also taught Art, Science, and Marketing and Merchandising in Distributive Education. For many years, she sponsored the Senior Class including trips to the World's Fair in New York, cruises to The Bahamas, and tours of Washington, DC. She used her artistic talents to plan and decorate numerous Senior Proms with the most remembered "Under The Sea." On football Friday nights, you would find her at the ticket window. She retired from Great Falls High School in 1978 after 32 years in public education. Erleen loved teaching and her students. That love was returned over many years by students who kept in touch, called, visited, and invited her to class reunions.
Her beloved husband James William Bankhead preceded her in death in 1990. She met James while attending Winthrop. They were married in Winnsboro on June 14, 1952. They built homes on the Bankhead family land in The Stover Section of Chester County close enough to see the Fairfield County line.
Erleen and James shared a love of Clemson football, traveling to all home games and many away, including Clemson's 1981 National Championship – always proudly wearing orange. She was an IPTAY supporter for more than 60 years. She happily sent Roberta to the 2016 and 2018 Clemson National Championships.
For almost 50 years, Erleen and James enjoyed hunting, fishing, and attending Stevenson family gatherings. They also enjoyed The Bankhead River Cabin at Lake Wateree for many years and hosted family and friends for BBQ annually on the 4th of July.
Erleen unbelievably trained her cats and dogs. Often her dogs were slightly overprotective, resulting in visitors being reluctant to return.
Erleen is survived by Roberta of the home and Greenville, SC. Also surviving are nineteen beloved nieces, nephews, and their children and families.
Erleen was predeceased by her parents, her brothers Edward Lee Stevenson, Jr., Marion Stone Stevenson, Jacob Coleman Stevenson, and her sisters Minnie Lee Stevenson Montgomery, twins Marguerite Stevenson Kelly and Marie Stevenson Burley, and Ann Stevenson Dixon.
Erleen was a member of Hebron Presbyterian Church and remained active in the church and Hebron Women's Circle until her health declined.
Over the years, she was given great care by devoted doctors, caregivers, family, and friends. For that we are forever thankful.
Memorials may be given to The Stevenson Bankhead Memorial Endowment, 110 Daniel Drive, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29631 or Great Falls School and Community Scholarship Fund, 411 Sunset Avenue, Great Falls, SC 29055.
Private, family graveside services were held on October 8, 2021, at 3:00 PM at the Hebron Presbyterian Church Cemetery.
Pope Funeral Home in Winnsboro, SC served the family. Online condolences may be sent to the family at [email protected]
Published by The News & Reporter on Oct. 13, 2021.