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ANDERSON - Former State Senator Thomas Edmond Garrison, Jr., of Anderson, died June 16, 2013 at the home of his son Tom Garrison III where the family celebrated Father's Day. He was 91 years old.

Sen. Garrison was born Jan. 21, 1922 in Anderson County, the son of Thomas Edmond Garrison and Nettie McPhail Garrison. He graduated from Boys High in Anderson and Clemson University in 1942 with a degree in Vocational Agriculture.

Known as the "war class" Sen. Garrison and his fellow graduates went into the armed services immediately following graduation because of the declaration of war with Germany and Japan the previous December. He served first in the Army then transferred to the Army Air Force serving in the South Pacific where, in a B-25, he flew 65 missions with the 69th Medium Bombardment Squadron of the 13th Air Force. 

After his military discharge he returned to the family farm where he had grown up and began a lifetime in farming. For a few years he taught veterans agriculture classes. 

A leader in both county and state agriculture, Garrison was recognized with many awards from agricultural, conservation, and civic organizations including Man of the Year by Progressive Farmer magazine, S.C. Jaycees, Wildlife Federation, Sertoma Club, Distinguished Alumni Award from Clemson University, Legislator of the Year by the VFW, the Order of the Palmetto, and many others.

His farm, Denver Downs, on the Anderson-Clemson highway 76, was often the host for guests from around the state for meetings and demonstrations, and the house is on the National Register of Historic Places. Garrison was one of the first farmers in the area to use no-till planting. Always a proponent for soil conservation, Garrison very soon after he began farming had a soil and water conservation plan designed for his farm. He served as president of the S.C. Farm Bureau and the S.C. Association of Soil Conservation Supervisors. 

Garrison offered for election to the state House of Representatives in 1958, He was elected and served 1959-1966 when he was elected to the S.C. State Senate where he served from 1967-1988 for a total of 30 years making him one of Anderson County's longest serving legislators. Over the years there were many committee assignments including the Education Committee which he chaired; Agricultural and Natural Resources; Finance; Fish, Game, and Forestry; Corrections and Penology; and others. 

Garrison was an active and lifelong member of Welcome Baptist Church which his grandfather had helped organize in the Denver Downs home where the Garrisons lived. He was a deacon and, for many years, teacher of the Men's Sunday School class, and served in other capacities.

Garrison is survived by his wife of 57 years Hazel Juanita Bartlett Garrison and five children: Carol Gaye Garrison Sprague and her husband Craig Joel Sprague, their son, James Edmond (Jay) Sprague and his wife Mollie and their son, Garrison's only great grandchild, John Colson Sprague of Greenville; Thomas Edmond Garrison (Tom) III and his wife Angela Hancock Garrison and their daughters Leigh Abigail Garrison and Lillian Bartlett Garrison of Anderson; Anita Lee Garrison Smith and her husband Ronald Winston Smith and their children Emily McPhail Smith and Garrison McNeal Smith of Anderson; Elizabeth Reid Garrison Rasor and her husband Jake Rasor III of Greenwood; and Catherine Anne Garrison Davis and her husband Mark Stephen Davis and their sons Tillman Garrison Davis and James Daniel Davis of Mt. Pleasant, SC. 

Sen. Garrison was preceded in death by a son James Bartlett (Bart) Garrison in 1990 and a grandson Benjamin Garrison Sprague in 1998. In addition to his parents he was preceded by his three sisters Sara Garrison Cox, Lounelle Garrison and Nancy Garrison. 

Visitation will be at the family home, Denver Downs Farm, 4915 Clemson Blvd, Anderson Tuesday afternoon June 18 from 4:00 to 7:00 P.M. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 P.M. Wednesday June 19 at Welcome Baptist Church on Clemson Highway 76 conducted by William R. West, Jr. and Rev. Marion Hare, former pastor of Greenville. A long time friend Roy Jeffcoat will give the eulogy.

Pallbearers will be Joel Sprague, Ron Smith, Mark Davis, Jake Rasor, Jay Sprague, and Garrison Smith. 

Burial will be in the family plot of Welcome Baptist Church Cemetery with military honors provided by the Campbell Patriots Honor Guard. 

Memorials may be sent to the Pendleton District Commission-Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum of S.C., P.O. Box 565, Pendleton, SC 29670; the James Bartlett Garrison Memorial Scholarship Endowment, Clemson University, 110 Daniel Drive, P.O. Box 1889, Clemson, SC 29633; or the Benjamin Garrison Sprague Endowment Fund, Clemson University, 110 Daniel Drive, P.O. Box 1889, Clemson, SC, SC 29633. 


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