Furman Raymond Younginer passed peacefully into eternal life Thursday, February 16, 2017. Born November 14, 1923, in Irmo, he was the son of the late Raymond Samuel Younginer and Gertrue Petty Younginer of Irmo. He was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Louise O’Sheal Younginer.
A lifelong resident of Irmo, Younginer was educated in the Irmo schools and graduated from Irmo High in 1941. After graduation, he began working in the Accounting Department with the Columbia, Newberry, and Laurens (CN&L) Railroad and continued in this position until he was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 19. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, from April 15, 1943 until he was honorably discharged December 14, 1945.
His years of service for his country began with basic training at Fort Jackson. He was sent to Washington, D.C. for a short while and in September 1943 he was sent to Camp Patrick Henry (Newport News, VA) where he boarded a Liberty ship. He traveled across the ocean for 17 days to begin his service in the European theatre of operations. He first landed in Casablanca and then traveled via train, in boxcars, across North Africa. He was sent to Italy to serve in the Allied Control Commission (Military Government for the Italy 2675th Regiment) under the command of General Mark Clark. Younginer was based in a number of Italian cities, but he was assigned to Rome for the majority of his time and while there, he attended classes at the University of Rome. He often recalled that while in Rome, he learned the good news of the war’s end and that he would soon return home.
Following the end of World War II, he returned to Irmo, attended the University of South Carolina, and continued his work in accounting for the CN&L Railroad (now, part of CSX Railroad). His job position was Assistant Secretary/Treasurer and he was responsible for the financial and managerial functions in the Columbia office of the CN&L. He was employed by the CN&L Railroad for 42 years and retired in March 1983.
As a member of America’s Greatest Generation, Younginer’s experiences in World War II gave him many insights which he related to and envisioned for his hometown of Irmo. He acknowledged the positive aspects of the many places to which he had been assigned or visited and sought to incorporate those features that would promote civics, leadership, and progress in the community. In 1951, Furman Younginer was elected to the Irmo Town Council and he remained on the Council until 1961 when he was elected Mayor of Irmo. He served as Irmo’s mayor for 16 years (1961 – 1977) and during his administration many changes and improvements occurred in the community. The Irmo area became well-known as an ideal place for families to live. Younginer cooperated with industry and real estate developers, envisioning a bright and productive future for Irmo.
One of his most significant contributions to the community involved the water supply for Irmo. He and the Town Council worked to obtain financing to develop the Irmo Water System. Work on the water system began January 1967 and by the summer of 1968, water of a superior quality was flowing for homes in Irmo. In the 1970’s, with the continuing growth of residences in Irmo and the need for a more robust water system, Mayor Younginer facilitated the sale of the Irmo Water System to the City of Columbia. Another major contribution for the community was establishing fire protection for the Irmo area. Mayor Younginer, with the full support of the Council, developed plans for the Irmo Fire Department, thereby forming the Irmo Fire District in 1963. He guided the establishment of other significant improvements such as establishing an organized garbage service in the 1970’s for the Town of Irmo. Also, during his administration, he obtained the funding to pave most streets in Irmo, extended street lighting, established street names as well as street address numbering for homes.
Younginer’s public service extended across the county and in 1963, he was appointed by the Lexington County Legislative Delegation to study the hospital needs of Lexington County. The recommendation was made to establish a facility which was originally known as Lexington County Hospital (now, Lexington Medical Center). Upon completion of the hospital, he served as a Charter Member of the Lexington County Hospital Board of Trustees from 1967-1978.
Furman Younginer’s participation in organizations and civic activities included: recipient in 2001, Order of the Palmetto; charter member, Irmo Ruritan Club for which he served as president for many years; member, SC Railroad Museum for which he served on the Board of Trustees for several terms; member, National Historical Railroad Society; member, Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce; member, Executives Club of the Midlands; served on the boards of three banks which included Irmo Bank of Commerce, Southern Bank & Trust Co., and First Union; served on the Board of Trustees of Friends of the Lexington County Museum; former president and honorary member, Lexington County Municipal Association; member, Col. Thomas Taylor Chapter, National Society Sons of the American Revolution; member for over 70 years, American Legion Post 7, serving in positions including commander and chaplain; Honorary Irmo Historian; contributor to the writing of and memorabilia for the Irmo history book, “Irmo and the Dutch Fork Legacy.”
Younginer was a lifelong member of the Irmo Pentecostal Holiness Church (now known as Irmo Family Worship Center). He accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at age 9 and his faith and trust in God never wavered. He served multiple positions in the church including secretary-treasurer and Sunday School superintendent.
Furman Younginer will be forever remembered in the hearts of his friends and family. He leaves to cherish his memory, his five children and spouses: Miriam Y. and Donald E. Lovett, Caroline Y. and Frederick E. Sojourner, Ann Y. and Robert Gunning IV, Paul F. and Angela M. Younginer, Lucy Y. and Dr. R. Paul Austin. His ten beloved grandchildren are Furman D. Lovett (Emily), Maria L. Cole (Ryan), Caroline Ingram, Robert Gunning V (Hannah), Laura Gunning Morgan (Tommy), Andrew Gunning, Anna Younginer, Robert Paul Austin III, Lewis Austin, Smith Austin. His four great-grandchildren are Charles Cole, Lily Cole, Molley Gunning, Sophie Gunning. His dearly loved sisters are Orine Younginer, Mildred Younginer, Blanche Younginer (deceased), Betty Younginer, and Vernelle Y. Jones (Rev. Sanford Jones).
The family appreciates the expressions of kindness bestowed upon Younginer throughout his life. He took pride in wearing his cap with the emblem, World War II Veteran, and individuals frequently greeted him with appreciation for his service to our country. He maintained and treasured his friendships with former coworkers, community members, church family, and his many devoted friends.
Visitation was Saturday, February 18, 2017, at Dunbar Funeral Home, Dutch Fork Chapel, Irmo. The funeral was Sunday, February 19, 2017 at Irmo Family Worship Center with burial immediately following in the church cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Irmo Family Worship Center, PO Box 342, Irmo, SC 29063 or Sharing God’s Love, PO Box 1021, Irmo, SC 29063.
Sign the online guest book at www.dunbarfunerals.com.