Saturday, July 2, 2011

Remembering a career educator in Orangeburg today

Men and women who give their active lives to careers in education should all be remembered as fondly as Ms. Maggie Whaley Rickenbacker of Orangeburg, whose life was remembered today in that city.

The Orangeburg Times and Democrat offers the poignant obituary of an educator from tiny Jamison, produced by the public schools of her community during a harsh part of the twentieth century in our state, who then gave back to her community by spending 35 years teaching in Orangeburg's and Dorchester's public schools. Even in passing, at age 90, Ms. Rickenbacker continues to promote her profession, asking that donations be sent to the teacher education programs at Claflin University and South Carolina State University, and elsewhere.

As the daughter of a farm owner, she was taught by her parents the value of loving the Lord and of hard work; these qualities remained with her all her life. She was no stranger to hard work, and to earn funds to continue in college, she worked in New York, and she was present at the ticker tape parade celebrating the end of World War II. Mrs. Maggie Whaley Rickenbacker was the wife of the late Rev. John Jefferson Rickenbacker of Orangeburg.

Mrs. Rickenbacker received her elementary and secondary education from the public schools of Orangeburg County. She received her bachelor of education degree from Claflin College in 1948. She later received her master's degree in education from South Carolina State College.
As a professional educator, she served for 35 years as a teacher in Orangeburg and Dorchester counties. She was a member of the South Carolina Education Association and the National Education Association.

Throughout her careers in education and real estate, Ms. Rickenbacker exemplified South Carolina's and America's best values as a charitable community activist, an active churchwoman, "an avid fisherwoman, gardener and flower enthusiast."

Many thanks to Ms. Rickenbacker for sharing her life with so many others, and to her family for sharing her with the generations of her community and state.

Likewise, and always, many thanks to the others of our retired educators in every community of South Carolina.

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