HARLEYVILLE -- Mary Frances Dukes Pendarvis, 93, of 967 W. Main St., wife of the late John “Herbert” Pendarvis, passed away Monday, Sept. 14, at her home after an extended illness.
Mary Frances, or “Baba” as affectionately known to family and close friends, was born March 20, 1927, the daughter of the late Virgil Joseph and Mary Lou Crook Dukes. Mary Frances was raised in Branchville, where her father worked for the railroad. As a young child, her love for trains began in the oldest depot in America, where she would meet her father at the train and give him his lunch every day. She spoke fondly of spending her summers in Cameron at her grandparent's farm, where she played with their goats and cows. She graduated from Branchville High School in 1944 and Columbia College in 1948 with a degree in social studies education. She taught social studies in South Carolina public schools and eventually retired as a teacher and interim headmistress at Mims Academy.
Baba was known for her impeccable organizational skills as she was the secretary and bookkeeper for her son and late husband at Pendarvis Farms. Before her illness, Baba could be found “in the corner” of her office working on the farm “books,” as she referred to them. She also managed the yearly duties of the Pendarvis Family tent at Indian Field Campmeeting for over 50 years; overseeing the finances, grocery buying and meal planning. She retired from her position and passed the duties to the younger Pendarvis generation but remained an “armchair advisor” to her nieces and nephews who loved her so. She loved to watch the Mims Rebels, Clemson Tigers and Atlanta Braves play ball.
Baba was an avid reader and lifelong learner. Before her illness, she enjoyed traveling with her dear friends, Frances and Betty Jo. Together they enjoyed many holiday weekends at her home on Lake Marion, entertaining family and friends with food, fellowship and fun.
She was a faithful member of Indian Field United Methodist Church, where she served in many capacities, including Sunday school teacher, historian and treasurer of the WSCS. She was a member of the Christian Fellowship Sunday School Class.
The apples of her eye were her grandsons, Trent and Adam, who were in and out of her house daily, taking breaks from their duties on the farm. In recent years she enjoyed frequent visits from her three great-grandchildren, Jack, Tilson and Clayton Anne.
Mary Frances never failed to help a family member, friend or stranger. Her family is comforted knowing she is at rest with her late husband of 47 years and her beloved daughter, Salley Lou, who, at the age of 34, died in a car accident.
She leaves behind her loving son, John Herbert Pendarvis Jr., his wife and daughter in-law, Jan Wynn Pendarvis; grandsons and daughters in-law, John Trenton “Trent” and Kara Ayer Pendarvis and their sons, John Trenton “Jack” and Jacob Tilson Pendarvis, Adam Wynn and Rachel Clayton Pendarvis and their daughter, Clayton Anne Pendarvis; and a brother and sister in-law, VJ and Sybil Dukes of Bowman.
The family extends their gratitude to her caregivers and companions throughout her illness: Mary Lary, Dorothy Summers, Brenda Smith, Willa Brown, Genia Barr, Shirley Kelly, Annie Sistrunk, Eva Williams and Deborah Lambright.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at Indian Field United Methodist Church with the Rev. Robert Reeves and Haskell Parler officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Due to COVID-19, family and close friends are invited to attend the service.
Pallbearers will be Eddie Kizer, Joe Dukes, Don Pendarvis, Will Hartzog, Richard Purvis and Howard Westbury. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Christian Fellowship Sunday School Class.
The family will receive friends at her home, 967 W. Main St., Harleyville.
Bryant Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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