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Rev. Charles J. Graves

d. July 10, 2020

The Governor of South Carolina advises to limit public gatherings to 50 guests or less to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Smith Funeral Home of Florence, LLC carefully considered this recommendation and ask that additional guest please participate via live-streaming if it is authorized by the family.

Private Funeral Service for Reverend Charles Graves will be conducted 10:00 AM Wednesday, July 15, 2020 on the lawn of Mt. Zion AME Church, 1305 E. Cheves St., Florence, SC. Entombment will follow in Williams Family Cemetery, directed by Smith Funeral Home of Florence, LLC.

Presiding Elder Charles Jerom Graves (Retired) was born November 11, 1935 in Marion County, SC. He was the son of the late Mr. Gaines and Mrs. Everette Graves. He died on Friday, July 10, 2020.

He received his childhood and high school education in the Public Schools of Gresham and Britton's Neck, South Carolina. He is a graduate of Allen University and received his religious education from Dickerson Theological Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. He has further and continuing educational studies at the University of South Carolina as well as Lutheran Southern Seminary.

Reverend Graves participated in numerous training in the fields of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Pastoral Care and the Criminal Justice System. As an educator, Presiding Elder Graves served as classroom teacher and Assistant Principal in the Public School System for ten (10) years. He was a Counselor and Supervisor with the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice for seventeen (17) years.

Before his appointment as Presiding Elder, Reverend Graves served as Pastor of Mt. Pisgah/Williams Chapel/Circuit for two (2) years, Union Station African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lake View, South Carolina for nine (9) years, Centerville / Mt. Calvary Circuit in Hartsville, South Carolina for thirteen (13) years and New Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in (Wisacky) South Carolina for fifteen (15) years. He presided over the Marion District of The African Methodist Episcopal Church for nine (9) years.

Reverend Graves ‘Civic and Political affairs in various communities include serving as Personnel Chairman of the Marion/Dillon Community Action Agency, Chairman of the Darlington County Community Action Agency. He also served as the Chairman of Inter-Faith Ministries, Lee County, Vice-Chair of the Lee County Housing Board of Directors for the Crisis Centers.He served as a member of the Board of Lee County Housing Authority and as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Pastoral Care for the State of South Carolina. Presiding Elder Graves was a member of The State Board of Education, representing the third Judicial Circuit, which included Lee, Sumter, Clarendon and Williamsburg Counties. He served as DMC Associate Commissioner for the Northeast Conference for a number of years as a member of the General Conference Commission. He was also President of the 7th African Methodist Episcopal District and was the Presiding Elder of the Mt. Pleasant District AME Church prior to his retirement.

Presiding Elder Graves was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities by the Board of Trustees of Allen University.

Rev. Graves was proceeded in death by his parents, Gaines and Everette Graves, his sisters, Irma Graves, Deliah Franklin, and brother, James Arthur Green.

Survivors of Presiding Elder Graves are his wife, Odessa Reaves Graves, of sixty three (63) years, sons, Steven Charles Graves (Thelma) of Columbia, SC, Rev. Merritt B. Graves (Lizzie) of Florence, SC, and a daughter Tracey Graves-McDaniel (Joye) of Columbia, SC; sister, Celestine Graves-Bishop of Florence, SC; Brother, Archie Lee Graves of Florence, SC.; grandchildren, Steven M. Graves (Dasha), Porsha McDaniel-Hall (McKinnley), Merritt Graves II, Joy Traneisha McDaniel. Four great grandchildren, Airelle Graves, Aubrey Graves, Alaina Graves, and McKinnley Sekani Hall; special cousins, Arthur Graves, Timothy Page,Barbara Clark, Ollie Cannon. Numerous special nieces and nephews, relatives and very dear friends.

Public viewing will be held 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at J. O. & Annette Smith Memorial Chapel, 307 S. Johns St., Florence, SC

Due to COVID-19, no visitation the family will receive condolences by phone at 843-669-0909 or by mail at P.O. Box 15177, Quinby, SC 29506.

Please keep the family of Presiding Elder Charles J. Graves in your thoughts and prayers.

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