GRANITEVILLE — As rain poured over Aiken County, 11 local residents whose bodies have gone unclaimed or funds were not available for their funeral arrangements, were laid to rest.
The Aiken County Coroner’s Office held its annual Pauper Burial Service at 10 a.m. Thursday morning at the Graniteville Cemetery on Gregg Highway. The service was open to the public.
"I think it's important that we take care of our citizens and let the families know that we have provided a place for their loved ones to be laid to rest in a respectful and dignified manner," said Aiken County Coroner Darryl Ables. "They will always have a place to come to visit now."
Family and friends of the deceased who could be found were notified of the service.
"The Coroner’s Office has made every effort to contact their families and extended family members," the Aiken County Coroner's Office said in a release.
The following citizens were laid to rest:
Joe Jefferson: 10/15/1942 - 07/26/2020
Robert Hilton: 02/21/1948 - 08/05/2020
Wayne Michael Davis: 08/05/1955 - 09/01/2020
Robert Hursey: 07/13/1958 - 10/30/2020
Barbara Ann Gillette: 07/27/1970 - 12/15/2020
Richard Willis Hartman: 09/19/1964 - 12/23/2020
George Leverett: 12/04/1938 - 02/09/2021
Harold Runnels Jr.: 01/19/1960 - 02/15/2021
Axel John Muller: 09/08/1941 - 04/17/2021
Jonnie G. Alexander: 12/30/1947 - 06/24/2021
Charles Sheeley: 05/26/1984 - 05/31/2021
Evelyn Jones Johnson said she went to the service to pay her respects to Jonnie C. Alexander. She said the last time she went to visit Johnson at the nursing home, she was notified that he had passed away.
"It was nice that we didn't have to worry about [his burial] and we can still come back and visit him and show his family where he is," Johnson said.
Mr. and Mrs. James Yaughn, owners of Cannon House Florist & Gifts, provided the spray of flowers. Napier Funeral Home of Graniteville donated 11 urns. Graniteville Cemetery Association provided tents, chairs and their services.
Hatcher and Shellhouse-Rivers funeral homes also provided services. New Future Granite II prepared the headstones. TJ Farrer on Track LLC dug the graves.
The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office performed "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes and drums. Minister Anthony Keith Glover was the presiding minister.