Flora Piccirillo Condon wore several crowns in her 84 years: Mrs. Elbert County, Queen of Ashley Park and Homemaker of the Year. She was the first woman invited to join an all-male community service group and the mayor of Charleston named a day after her.
Name: Flora P. Condon
Born: Oct. 13, 1929, in Anderson.
Died: Jan. 6, 2014
Occupation: Commercial real estate agent with Joe Griffith, Inc.
Will be remembered for: Her kindness and generosity, political fervor and community service, always done with a smile.
Memberships: Charleston County Planning Board, S.C. Social Services Advisory Committee, City Commission on Women, Charleston County Democratic Women, Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.
Survivors include: Children, Lenny Piccirillo, Charleston; Nanette Piccirillo (Tom Masi), Charleston; Ciro Piccirillo (Anne), Seneca; Ed Fendley (Beth), Loudon, Tenn.; Linda Lindsey, Marietta, Ga. ; 11 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
She was a woman active in politics at a time when it was a boys' club.
Condon died at age 84 on Jan. 6.
Her legacy included helping to build a youth camp, to create a scholarship fund and to form a Little League Baseball program. She would stand out in the rain and walk people into the voting booth, according to her daughter, Nanette Piccirillo. And, she would always burn the beans.
L.C. and Flora Piccirillo raised their family in Elberton, Ga., a small town east of Atlanta and the self-proclaimed "Granite Capital of the World."
Together, the family built Camp Harmony, created a scholarship for the local high school and established Elberton's Little League Baseball program from the ground up. Flora was actively involved in the fundraising and advertising efforts for the baseball program, skills that would benefit her when she later entered the political arena in Charleston.
The Piccirillos lived two doors down from their church and were always entertaining. Flora welcomed folks from all walks of life and put everyone at ease with her graciousness, according to Piccirillo. "She had a spirit. She was a very attractive woman, but her beauty radiated from within ... (the lesson she taught was to) treat everyone with respect and kindness."
After the death of L.C., Flora married Richard "Dick" Condon and moved to Charleston in the early 1970s. Quickly after her arrival in the Holy City, she began her pursuit of local politics.
Flora Condon made herself a regular on the campaign circuit, volunteering for U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings, S.C. Gov. Dick Riley and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, the heavy-hitters of the time in the Democratic Party. She was a proud member of President Jimmy Carter's Peanut Brigade and a local campaign manager for that election, Piccirillo said.
Piccirillo remembers her mother being so committed that she would stand in the rain with a second umbrella to pass out literature and walk people into the building to vote.
Phyllis Cole worked with Condon on the Board of Elections and Voter Registration of Charleston County. "She was a very passionate and caring person who never met a stranger," said Cole.
In 1982 and 1984, Condon pursued the Democratic nomination for S.C. House District 115 (Folly Beach and James Island). Although she was unsuccessful in winning the seat, she continued to work on the core issues of the area.
Condon made an impression. She was the first woman to be invited into membership of the all-male James Island Civitan Club, a volunteer charitable organization that serves community members with specific needs.
"She was a dynamic woman. She was authentic. I think that was the beauty of it. She didn't mince words. She was the Real McCoy. ... What you see is what you get," her daughter said.
This compliment was echoed by Carolyn Hughes, sales broker with Keller Williams Realty. In addition to her civic duties, Condon was a successful commercial real estate agent with Joe Griffith Inc.
Hughes said she "could always count on (Condon) to tell you how the real world of real estate worked. She always had the answers and she made me shine early on in the business."
Condon was straightforward when Hughes recently ran for a seat on the Charleston County Council. "She was very encouraging for me to do that. She said, 'Just go out there and tell 'em how it is,' " Hughes recalled.
Condon's generosity and compassionate spirit stayed with her well into her later years.
"She was like a guardian angel. She loved everybody, and everybody loved her," said Gloria Ancrum with the Board of Elections and Voter Registration of Charleston County. "She will truly be missed."
Reach Liz Foster at 937-5582 or lfoster@postand courier.com.