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Time Turns $46,000 into $1.2 Million for Wofford

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

SPARTANBURG, SC—Wofford College has received nearly $1.2 million as the result of the generosity of a 1916 graduate who died 33 years ago.

J.S. McClimon, known as “Mr. Mac,” died in 1969. Before his death, he established three trusts in the mid-1960s to provide for his widow during her lifetime and eventually to benefit seven organizations he loved and supported, according to his nephew, Ed McClimon of Greer. From that original $46,000 bequest, funded with bank stock and insurance, Wofford is now receiving almost $1.2 million. The funds were undesignated, so the college is able to use them where they are most needed.

“He had Wofford in his mind all along,” says Mr. Mac’s nephew, Ed McClimon, who recently donated to the Wofford Archives photographs of individuals from the Class of 1916 and memorabilia that Mr. Mac had saved. As a student at Wofford, Mr. Mac lived off campus with relatives near Spartanburg Regional Hospital. Wofford classmates included Rhodes Scholar Edwin F. Moseley, as well as John W. Harris and D. A. Tillinghast.

One of McClimon’s brothers attended Wofford for a year and his nephew, the late Graham McClimon Jr., graduated as a member of the Class of 1951.

After graduating from Wofford, Mr. Mac went to work at the Bank of Spartanburg. He was in the service during World War I and joined the staff at Peoples Bank in Duncan, SC, in 1919.

“During the Depression, my uncle moved the safe from Peoples Bank after dark to the Bank of Greer for safety,” says Ed McClimon. “The bank was moved to Greer in June 1933 and became The Bank of Greer.” There, Mr. Mac served in a variety of positions from cashier to president and chairman of the board. Mr. Mac held the number one stock certificate from when the bank first went public; his sister, also a bank employee, held number two.

Mr. Mac is remembered for his generosity and philanthropy. Doris Wade, manager of Wofford’s business office, remembers him from her husband’s employment at The Bank of Greer.

“He always wore a coat and tie,” Wade says, “and he used to tell my husband, Johnny, ‘Let’s go for a ride,’” where he would take him around the community to meet bank patrons — farmers, business owners and factory workers alike. She says Mr. Mac would lend money on reputation and a handshake. He knew the community and its people. He knew what they needed and how to help.

“He and his wife were frugal,” Wade says. “No one would have ever dreamed they had money to leave to charity.”

Mr. Mac’s father, John P. McClimon, was a farmer in the Liberty Hill community of Greer. His mother, Emma, stayed busy rearing seven children. Mr. Mac and his wife had no children of their own, but enjoyed their five nieces and nephews and their church and community families.

“He and (his wife) Judy took children from Epworth (orphanage) at Christmas,” remembers Mary McClimon. “He was very generous with things in the community. If the church budget got behind Mr. Mac always finished it out.”

Also receiving portions of the estate that was dispersed following the death of Mr. Mac’s widow, Jennie “Judy” Richardson McClimon, in 2001 are: Memorial United Methodist Church, where Mr. Mac taught Sunday school for 25 years and served as chairman of the church’s board and as a steward and trustee; Allen Bennett Hospital through the Greenville Hospital System, where Mr. Mac served on the board during the establishment of Allen Bennett; Epworth Children’s Home; Liberty Hill United Methodist Church, where Mr. Mac went to school as a child; Woods Chapel United Methodist Church and Fulton Presbyterian Church, both of which were important to the McClimon family.

A member and past president of the Greer Kiwanis Club, McClimon was selected as “Citizen of the Year” in 1963. He was a member of Bailey Lodge 146, AFM, and the Hejaz Shrine Temple. He was a member of the Wofford Eleven Club and made time to attend Wofford football games.

Mr. Mac died at the age of 75, a year after retiring from The Bank of Greer.