Lois J. Barnhill, 94, passed away peacefully on Friday, August 20, 2021.
She was born to Erasmus Darwin Graves and Helen Brennen Graves on Feb. 27, 1927, in Sandusky, Ohio.
Lois took pride in growing up on the family farm in Castalia, Ohio along with her five siblings: sisters, Ruth, Eileen, Shirley, and Bonnie, and brother, Frank. They enjoyed a simple life where they were taught from a young age the value of a hard day’s work which helped shape Lois’ leadership skills which naturally continued throughout her entire life. Lois was elected Treasurer and Secretary of her class at Margaretta High School and graduated in 1945. From there, she attended Tiffin University to study bookkeeping. While working at the First National Bank at age of 22, she met the love of her life, Morgan “Barney” Barnhill. They married in 1949 and enjoyed 66 years of marriage until his passing in 2016. When Barney enlisted in the US Air Force, they began their journey by traveling the world first to Alaska and then to Germany where their son, Eric Jon was born. From there, they went to Charleston AFB and welcomed daughter, Janet Carol, and then to Donaldson AFB in Greenville, SC where their third child, Lori Jean joined the crew. From Greenville, the Barnhills were stationed in Savannah, GA, The Pentagon in Washington, DC, and then Hickam Hawaii as their final assignment. They chose to return to Greenville, SC and begin their second chapter.
Once in Greenville, Lois continued her love of helping others and joined the Christ Church Episcopal School Education Board, where she served for over 20 years under four Directors of Christian Education, with her valuable contributions being accredited in the development at Christ Church School. Her selflessness and love for helping others continued throughout her lifetime. She served as a “Pink Lady” at St. Francis Hospital and received several awards for her work throughout the years.
Lois and her siblings loved music and singing. Even as children, the Graves Girls would sing in harmony while completing chores on the farm and were known for their beautiful singing voices. Their visits with one another as adults would always include singing. Lois enjoyed harmonizing, playing different instruments, and tap dancing – anything to do with music! No matter where her family was stationed, she would always find a church choir or a choral group to join. She sang in the choir at First Presbyterian Church in Downtown Greenville where she was a member for over fifty years and often spoke of the joy of participating in the Christmas programs at the Biltmore House. Music was always front and center in her home, and she made sure her family knew all the words and music to songs from the 1930s through the 1970s! In Lois’ later years she took up the ukulele and was instrumental in starting the “Happy Strummers” ukulele band at the Greenville Senior Action Center. She was also a member of the famous Greenville group, “Yesterukes!” and enjoyed promoting her group’s upcoming gigs.
Barney and Lois loved the outdoors and water, especially boating. After retiring, many summers were spent at the family lake house on Lake Hartwell where they enjoyed entertaining friends and family. Lois and Barney were known for hosting the most memorable parties both on land and water! They were both very active members in the Greenville Power Squadron and obtained high ranks, including presidency, and were even awarded the Commander Cup.
Lois deeply loved her two grandchildren, Dustin Albertson and Colleen A. Casey. Her sense of humor carried on throughout her lifetime as well, giving Dustin the title of her “favorite grandson”, and Colleen the title her “favorite granddaughter”, always making sure they each felt special.
The simplest pleasures in life brought the greatest joy to Lois, and she had an uncanny ability to find happiness in her daily activities. Her pleasant personality was contagious to everyone she met, and she welcomed all with open arms. She enjoyed making new friends and cherished the memories of old ones. Lois never missed sending birthday cards each year, a “get-well” card to a sick friend, a Christmas card to anyone she ever met, or simply a “thinking of you” card. She formed a special bond with her home health aide, Charity Jones, spoke so highly of her neighbors, Felton and Helen, and enjoyed her time with her loving friends, Jack and Jane, as well as everyone in her Senior Action Center classes.
Lois always credited her simplistic upbringing to her deep appreciation for family and fellowship. Indeed, she lived an exciting, fun-filled life, but anyone who knew her believed she never strayed far from her humble roots. Lois was a faithful Christian who loved her Heavenly Father and her Savior, Christ Jesus.
Lois will be dearly missed by her family. Her two children, Eric Barnhill (Donna) of Seneca, and Janet B. Goode of Greenville, and two grandchildren, Dustin Albertson (Brooke) of Greenville, and Colleen A. Casey (Kevin) of Spartanburg invite friends and loved ones in joining them in remembering the life and legacy of Lois Graves Barnhill on Saturday, August 28, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. in her home at 3 Burgundy Drive, Greenville, SC 29615 Please bring a song to sing or a memory to share.