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Elizabeth Courtney "Bessie" Heyward Clarkson
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Birth: 1919
Death: Nov. 26, 2009
South Carolina, USA

Elizabeth "Bessie" Courtney Heyward Robinson Boykin Clarkson, of Columbia, died Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009.

Born in 1919 in Columbia in the old Baptist Hospital, she was the first person in her family not to have been born at home. Bessie was the daughter of Sarah Boykin Heyward and Edmund Rhett Heyward. They lived on Terrace Way where she attended Miss Lulie Shand's kindergarten, Hand Junior High and the old University High School, where she graduated Class of 1935. She went to Converse College for two years, Abbott School of Art in Washington, D.C., for one year and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1940 with a degree in Elementary Education and Art. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority, the Beaux Arts and the glee club.

In 1938, Bessie was crowned Miss Columbia at the Azalea Festival. Her beauty career ended there as her father would not allow her to compete in the state competition that required appearing in a swimsuit.

In 1940, she married R. Hoke Robinson, who was also from Columbia. Bessie lived with her parents and infant son, Hoke, during World War II while her husband was stationed in Africa and Italy. After the war had left Italy, Hoke Sr. returned from overseas and they moved to West Point where he taught law at the U.S. Military Academy. They returned to Columbia in 1946 where Hoke practiced law for the next 30 years.

A cradle-to-the-grave Episcopalian, Bessie was originally a member of St. John's in Shandon where her parents had been founding members. Bessie and Hoke took part in founding two new churches on the outskirts of town, St. Martin's-in-the-Fields in 1950 and St. Michael and All Angels in 1957.

Bessie sang enthusiastically in every choir of every church she ever attended, she truly enjoyed making a joyful noise unto the Lord.

For over 15 years, she and Hoke held hymnsings at their house that were attended by parishioners and neighbors. The Episcopal Church was a major part of her life.

Another major part of her life was as a mother. She had four sons and one daughter spaced over 16 years. She was a den mother for a group of Cub Scouts, Girl Scout leader, car pool driver, lifeguard, tier of ties, confidante and advisor to her children and their friends. She enjoyed and excelled at all phases of child rearing from birthing babies to marrying them off. She was well-known and universally liked by all of her children's friends.

Teaching became the third major force in her life when she was made head of the preschool program at St Michael and All Angels in 1962. She re-entered U.S.C. and earned a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education in 1969. Bessie was on the faculty of the Early Childhood Education department at U.S.C.

Following the death of Hoke, Bessie moved to Charleston in 1977 to teach Early Childhood Education at the College of Charleston. The next year she married Lemuel Whittaker Boykin and lived at Edisto Beach for the next eight years. She had a wonderful time living at the beach for the first time in her life. She returned to Columbia in the fall of 1986 and joined with a group that was starting the Shepherd's Center of Columbia. Subsequently, Bessie was hired as the first Director of the Shepherd's Center in the fall of 1987. She served in this capacity for 11 years and when she retired in 1998, the day was proclaimed Bessie Boykin day.

Bessie moved to Still Hopes to be with her brother and sisters in 2003 but her stay there was short as she married G. Stuart Clarkson, a Camden native that she had known her entire life. They were married in the chapel at Still Hopes by her son, Edmund, in 2003 and moved to Stuart's home on Devereaux Road. She and Stuart split their time between Columbia and his river place near Camden for the remainder of her life. S

Bessie was a member and officer of many organizations and clubs during her lifetime, social, historical or recreational.

She is survived by her husband, G. Stuart Clarkson; children, Robert Hoke Robinson Jr. and wife, Marjorie, Allen Jones Boykin Robinson and wife, Maggie, Edmund Heyward Robinson and wife, Jacqueline Schwab, Courtney Robinson Johnston and husband, James L. Johnston, William Augustus "Gus" Robinson and wife, Maureen; 12 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; Stuart's five children and their families as well as numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives scattered throughout South Carolina. By virtue of being both a Boykin and a Heyward, she was related to at least half of the Palmetto State.

She was predeceased by her brother, Albert Rhett Heyward, and sisters, Sarah Heyward Hardy Hinnant and Coles Heyward Cathcart. 
Elmwood Memorial Gardens
Richland County
South Carolina, USA
Created by: Just another taphophile
Record added: Nov 28, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 44903260
Elizabeth Courtney Bessie <i>Heyward</i> Clarkson
Added by: Just another taphophile
Elizabeth Courtney Bessie <i>Heyward</i> Clarkson
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Sam
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You are an amazing woman. This world was honored to have you as a part of it. I know you will be missed greatly by so many. May you now rest in Heavenly peace until again reunited with those left to cherish your precious memory.
- Lisa
 Added: Nov. 29, 2009

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