Dr. Harry Carl Stille, Jr., 90, of Due West, who represented Abbeville County for 12 years in the South Carolina Legislature following a successful career as educator and coach at Erskine College, died January 6, 2020.
During his 63 years in Due West, Dr. Stille also distinguished himself as town mayor, artist, and inventor. He received the Order of the Palmetto for his service to the State of South Carolina. He was currently serving as a member of the Due West Town Council.
A native of West Long Branch, NJ, Dr. Stille was born June 12, 1929, to the late Harry C. and Clara Brand Stille. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Kentucky and his doctorate from University of Alabama. Following graduation, he served in the US Army during the Korean War, beginning his teaching and coaching careers at a US Army Dependents School in Okinawa.
Dr. Stille and his wife of more than 60 years, the former Mary Rebecca “Reba” Crawford, enjoyed travel and time with family and friends. They especially loved attending the grandchildren’s numerous sporting events, musical and theatrical performances.
Survivors, in addition to his wife, are his son, Brand Reid Stille (Laura Eberhardt) and their children Reid McConnell and Ebbe Anne of Spartanburg; daughters Suzette Stille of Mount Pleasant and Fronde Stille and her children Jackson Crawford and Lola Elizabeth Davenport of Mount Pleasant. Predeceasing him were sisters Harriet Rice of West Long Branch, NJ and Louise Lawrence of St. Petersburg, FL.
After earning his master’s degree, Stille joined the Erskine faculty in 1957 as chair of the physical education department where he served until retirement in 1992. In 1959, he became head baseball coach at the college. Stille continued to teach instructors of driver education at Erskine through the summer of 2019, giving him the longest teaching tenure (62 years) at the college.
As baseball coach at Erskine College from 1959-88, Dr. Stille won more than 400 games. His teams captured several NAIA District championships. On his retirement from coaching, Erskine retired his uniform number. Dr. Stille was twice elected NAIA Baseball District Coach of the Year and was State Baseball Coach of the Year in 1984. He is a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, Erskine College Athletic Hall of Fame, and Long Branch High School Hall of Fame.
Following his retirement, Dr. Stille was elected to the South Carolina General Assembly, serving for 12 years (1992-2004). Prior to and following his time in the General Assembly, he served more than 30 years as mayor of Due West, including consecutively from 1962-85. He also served as Due West Municipal Judge and president of SC Small Town Mayors Association.
Dr. Stille was an inventor, holding patents on pitching and batting pads. He was also an artist, selected by the Abbeville Artist Guild as Abbeville County “Artist of the Year” and received the Erskine College Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts. He designed the logo for the Town of Due West, the Robert S. Galloway Physical Education Center at Erskine, and also helped design his longtime family home in Due West before the Stilles moved to The Renaissance retirement center.
Dr. Stille served his community, county and state as a member of the Salvation Army Board, deacon in the Due West ARP Church, Abbeville Artist Guild Board, volunteer fireman, Mason with the Dew Drop Lodge, and founding member of the Due West Lions Club. The Stille House in Due West, housing clients of the Burton Center for disabilities and special needs, is named in his honor as is the Erskine baseball press box.
“Doc” lived with endless curiosity and each day with gusto, having a keen interest in higher education research, art and architecture, physics, astronomy, religion, evolution and politics. He enjoyed collecting matchbox cars and fossils. His most cherished collection, however, were the many people who filled his life with love.
The family will receive friends 3:30PM – 5:00PM, Friday, January 10, 2020 at the Parkinson Lounge of the Renaissance Retirement Center in Due West. A service to celebrate Dr. Stille’s life will be held at 1:00PM, Saturday, January 11, 2020 in Due West ARP Church with a reception immediately following the service in the Fellowship Hall.
Honorary pallbearers will be the Erskine College Baseball players during his tenure as coach.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests memorials are made to the Erskine College Student Scholarship Fund, Attn: Advancement, PO Box 338, Due West, SC 29639 or to Due West ARP Church, PO Box 397, Due West, SC 29639.
A message of condolence may be sent to the family by visiting www.harrisfuneral.com.
Harris Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Abbeville is assisting the Stille family.
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