Thomas Drayton Obituary, Death –Ami Matthews Drayton and her family very regret to inform you of the passing of Mr. Thomas Addison Drayton, 75, Mrs. Drayton’s husband of 13 years. On July 8, 2023, Mr. Drayton passed away. Hancock-ElmoreHill’s Directors are focusing on the well-being of the mourners at this time. The Reverend Denise Seymour and the Reverend Olion Kirkland will preside over a funeral service for him on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, at 11:00 AM at Bethlehem United Methodist Church. Bethlehem United Methodist Church Cemetery is located at 110 Pinchum Sly Road in Bishopville, South Carolina and will be the site of the burial. On Tuesday, July 11, 2023, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm, the family will accept visitors at Hancock-Elmore-Hill Funeral Home, 3945 Beckford Street, Florence, SC 29501.
Donations in his memory can be sent to the Cemetery Fund of the Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Bishopville, South Carolina, at PO Box 167. On May 29, 1948, Mr. Drayton entered this world in Bishopville, South Carolina. His parents, Edward R. Drayton, Jr. and Agness Ross Graham Drayton, had both passed away before he was born. Tom earned his high school diploma from Bishopville in 1966. Two of his alma maters were Wingate and the University of Georgia. He joined the Marines in 1968 and served in Vietnam from the end of that year until the end of the next year. In Vietnam, his firm participated in a wide range of projects. In 1970, he went back to work for the family firm, and from 1981 until 2019, he served as president.
In 1985, he led the South Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association and was elected president, earning him the title of SCNLA Fellow. In addition to being the 1989 Nurseryman of the Year, he served as Lt. Governor and Governor of the American Nursery and Landscape Association. From 1975 to 1983, Tom was a member of the City Council in Bishopville. From 1983 to 1991, he served as Mayor of Bishopville. He served as vice chairman of the South Carolina Highway Commission from 1991 to 1994. He was named Business Person of the Year by the Lee County Chamber of Commerce and served as Vice Chairman of the Santee Council of Governments. He attended the Bethlehem United Methodist Church continuously throughout his life.
He was the head of the cemetery and the chairman of the board of trustees at his church, and he also taught Sunday school there. He was devoted to his faith and the care of the Bethlehem Cemetery. Tom was the kind of person who put a premium on giving back to the community, and the maxim “it’s not what you take from a community, it’s what you give back” was one of his favorites. Tom helped a wide variety of charities and individuals through his financial contributions. He had joined the American Legion and the VFW and remained a member for life. He spent a good deal of time as an active IPTAY member. He was a huge fan of the Clemson Tigers and regularly attended games.
His wife, Ami Mathews Drayton, and his children, Thomas Scott Drayton (Rebecca), Jonathan Wesley Drayton (Allison), Chris Borowski (Ashley Witt), Caroline Grantham (Hal), and Cassidy Borowski (Cody Phillips), as well as his brother, Edward R. Drayton III (Linda) and sister-in-law, Frances R. Drayton, survive him, as do his grandchildren: Thomas Glenn Dr Isla Kate Grantham, his grandchild, was due any day now.
Marion Graham Drayton was his older brother; his father’s parents, Edward R. Drayton, Sr. and Gertrude A. Drayton, and his mother’s parents, John M. Graham and Mai Eloise B. Graham, all predeceased him.