Written by Advertizer-Herald   

Deacon Francis Banks, 87, of Bamberg died Saturday, November 17, 2012, at the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg. Funeral services are incomplete and will be announced at a later date.

Funeral services for Joseph Beckham, 44, of Jacksonville, Fla., were held Saturday, November 17, 2012, at St. Matthews K-8 School. He was born in Calhoun County, son of the late Louise Charley Beckham and Stephen Beckham. Mr. Beckham graduated from St. Matthews High School, class of 1987. He received an honorable discharge after serving his country in the U.S. Marines Corps and the U.S. Navy.

Rita Gail Capps, 31, of Branchville passed away on November 16, 2012 at her home. The memorial service was held Tuesday, November 20, 2012. Ms. Capps was born on December 3, 1980 in Greenville County to Richard Dean Capps and Rhonda Faith Anderson Wallace. She was of Baptist faith, she loved riding on golf carts and playing with her toys.

The funeral for Ms. Clarice Cummings, 78, of Orangeburg was held Monday, November 19, 2012, at Good News AME Zion Church, Orangeburg. Ms. Clarice Davis Cummings passed away Thursday morning, November 15, 2012. She was the only daughter born to the late James and Inez Jennings Cummings in Branchville. She was the recipient of a Master of Business Degree from South Carolina State University and had taught within the business department in high school. She had also worked as a secretary at the Pentagon. She was married to the late Lee Davis and later to the late James Summers. Ms. Cummings enjoyed reading, puzzle solving and spending time with her family in later years.

Funeral services for Octavia Hodges Hudson, 88, formerly of Smoaks, were held Tuesday, November 20, 2012, at Lovely Hill Baptist Church in Smoaks.

Funeral services for Mr. James Julian “Junior” Johnson, 78, of Orangeburg were held Saturday, November 17, 2012, at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. James Julian “Junior” Johnson, son of the late Joseph L. Johnson Sr. and Gladys Bloom Johnson, was born September 30, 1934, in Orangeburg County. Mr. Johnson was affiliated with St. Luke Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. During his membership, he was involved with the Men’s Council. James attended the public schools of Orangeburg and Richland counties. He also attended the Area Trade School of Denmark. Mr. Johnson received certification from the Coleman Heating and Air-Conditioning Center. In addition, he received certification for radiological emergency management and citizen disaster assistance from the Emergency Management Institute of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. Mr. Johnson was owner and operator of Johnson Heating and Air, providing services for Orangeburg County and surrounding areas. On May 10, 1956, Mr. Johnson began active service in the U.S. Air Force at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas and departed active service honorably on May 9, 1959, with a rank of sergeant. His primary duty assignment was the 42nd Aviation Depot Squadron. Sgt. Johnson was a veteran of the Vietnam War, completing more than 14 months of distinguished service. Sgt. Johnson also served in the Air Force Reserve and was also a member of the South Carolina State Guard and assumed the rank of sergeant.

Mr. Leroy Ransom Jr., 47, of Bamberg died Tuesday, November 13, 2012, in the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg. Services were held Saturday, November 17, 2012.

Carol Smoak Rast, 60, of Orangeburg, died Friday, November 16, 2012, at her residence. The funeral was held Tuesday, November 20, 2012. She was born July 9, 1952, in the Bolentown Community, the daughter of Augustus A. H. “Pete” Smoak and the late Rena Kinsey Smoak. She was a registered nurse formerly employed with the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg and DHEC.

Mrs. Susie J. Ray of Denmark died Friday, November 16, 2012, at her residence. Funeral services were held Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at Honey Ford Baptist Church in Denmark. Mrs. Ray, the daughter of the late Joe Shepard and the late Annie Bell Joseph, was born in Greenville on February 2, 1914. She was the widow of the late Deacon Napoleon Ray. She was a member of Honey Ford Baptist Church, where she served as organist and pianist for many years. She was a retired public school teacher.

Jessie Mae Rhodes, 84, of Denmark, died Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at her residence. Services are incomplete at this time and will be announced at a later date.

Master Sgt. William “Sarge” Calvin Shirey, 93, of Bamberg, died November 12, 2012. Funeral services were held Thursday, November 15, 2012. Born in Central Hatchee, GA, on July 30, 1919, he was the son of the late Robert Lee Shirey and Ada Augene Talley Shirey. Shirey enlisted in the U.S. Army on Jan. 10, 1940, at Fort Oglethorpe, GA, in the 6th U.S. Cavalry. On June 6, 1944, Shirey found himself a long way from the fields of other brave Americans at Omaha Beach. He got very little rest because on Dec. 16, 1944, the Battle of the Bulge started and lasted until Jan. 25, 1945. Shirey was assigned to a tank battalion in Gen. George Patton’s famous 3rd Army, which raced across France conquering everything in its path. The Battle of the Bulge is known as one of our great victories and also one of our bloodiest battles. Shirey somehow became friends with Gen. Patton, and after the Battle of the Bulge, Patton saw Shirey on the roadside and stopped his Jeep, got out and gave Shirey a hug and asked how he was doing, and went on his way. Eleven months later, Gen. Patton would be killed in a Jeep accident in Germany in December 1945. Shirey’s nephew reflects on a memory he has of an article appearing in his hometown newspaper telling the story of Shirey as a tank driver in Patton’s 3rd Army driving his tank over a foxhole under heavy enemy fire to pick up and save the lives of several Americans. Shirey retired with 22 years of service to his country, with nine years on foreign soil. He was awarded the following medals and campaign ribbons: Normandy Campaign, Battle of the Bulge Campaign, Ardennes Campaign, Rhineland Campaign, Central Europe Campaign, American Defense Ribbon, Kamet Ribbon with five Bronze Service Stars, National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Army of Occupation Medal with German Clasp. He enjoyed fishing, gardening and yard work, and was Pentecostal.

Funeral services for Mr. Odensa E. Sider were held Saturday, November 17, 2012 at Central Baptist Church in Denmark. Burial followed at Shrub Branch Baptist Church in Blackville.

Rebecca Keel Swindell, 77, of Bamberg, died November 18, 2012. She died at the Orangeburg Regional Medical Center. A memorial service was held Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at Trinity United Methodist Church. She was the daughter of the late Rebecca Dickinson and Lenard Douglas Keel. She was a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church, where she was a Sunday School teacher for many years. She had a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was a loving wife and grandmother. She will be missed by many people.