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Columbus D. Childs made numerous contributions to the Laurens County and Newberry areas through his life as a mortician. He was a member of the Friendship AME church where he served as a steward, a position that he dearly treasured. He also participated in other charitable and civic organizations. He was born April 3, 1918 in Laurens County to the late Mr. Robert Eddiefield Childs and Reverend Jesse Childs. He attended the public schools of Laurens County.
Columbus’s father died when he was a very young child. He was the youngest of six children all of whom were reared in a Christian atmosphere. His sister, Minnie Searcy of Massachusetts, is the only survivor of his immediate family. Although his family’s economic situation was very unfavorable through his young life, he was an extremely hard worker who always strived to be an industrial leader. This was evident because from the ages of 16 to 24, he operated a pawn shop, a grocery store, started a taxi service for his relatives, and worked at the Duckett’s Funeral Home in Laurens, South Carolina. In his brief spare time he enjoyed singing, fishing and golfing.
He was also employed by Mr. H. Douglas Gray for many years. It was there where he learned much about management and business. Barely 25 years old, Mr. Gray loaned him $2, 500.00 to purchase his first edifice, The Childs Funeral Home, from H.W. Walker of Clinton, South Carolina on August 29, 1944. The purchase included the property at 36 East Carolina Avenue, the entire stock of merchandise, funeral home and undertaker’s furniture, one Dodge auto, one Ford station wagon, one 1934 model Henney Hearse, and etc. The Mortgage was paid on July 24, 1948 in Laurens County. Later, the funeral home was relocated to 301 West Carolina Avenue, where the new Childs Funeral Home building stands today. He purchased this property from Mr. Clinton A. Wadsworth, on August 6, 1945.
Records indicate that in 1947 Columbus opened a second funeral home in Prosperity, South Carolina; known as the Robinson-Childs Funeral Home. Some years later he also opened a third funeral home in the Cross Hill community. Mr. Pet Miller and Willie Mae Miller were his assistants as well as several other area residents. He always cherished the art of being a person that was born to console his fellow man in those times of sorrow.
Mr. Columbus D. Childs passed away on July 14, 1974 at the young age of 56.
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