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Sumter -- Pauline “Polly” Osborne, beloved friend of many and a former top Columbia Realtor, died peacefully on Wednesday June 13 of natural causes at age 94.
She will be remembered for her generosity, her work ethic, her beautiful smile, and the many large and small ways she touched our lives.
Polly was born on September 28, 1923 in the Spring Branch farming community of Horry County, the seventh child of her seventh-child father, Quittie Montrose Enzor, and his wife Leona Joyner Enzor.
Preceding her in death were her parents, her two sisters (Jennie Lovette of Lumberton and Irene Luther of Nichols) and seven brothers (Ernest and Luther of Nichols; Roscoe, Elmer and Cecil of Fair Bluff, North Carolina; Austin Fentrice of Eden, North Carolina, and Carrol of Florence).
She is survived by her “little brother” Herman Enzor; her two children: Austin Edwin Floyd of Sumter and Rachel Floyd Harjes (John) of Columbia; four grandchildren: Kathy Floyd Goodwin and Kim McGinnis of Sumter, Chris Harjes (Natalie) of Asheville, North Carolina, and Heather Harjes of Charlotte, North Carolina; six great-grandchildren: Lindsey McGinnis Havenga (Jakes) and Rebecca McGinnis of Taylors, Kayla Floyd and Miranda Goodwin of Sumter, and Via and Zeb Harjes of Asheville; and two great-great-grandchildren: Hallie and Coby Havenga of Taylors.
Polly, who grew up during the Depression, loved telling and writing stories about growing up “in the old days,” and about adventures with her two sisters and eight brothers, including several mischievous pranksters who argued for years about who was really “the ring leader.”
She graduated from Floyds High School, where she lettered in track one year and basketball four years, being named All-Conference in basketball. She attended North Greenville Junior College for one semester before marring and having children.
She was known for her work ethic, having told multiple well-meaning activities directors “What do I like to do? I like to work.” Even at 90, she could outlast most younger people in the yard or garden.
As a woman she was ahead of her time, running a country crossroad service station in the Floyds community of Nichols and racing in a “powder puff derby” car race on a dirt track. People who knew her were surprised when the women’s liberation movement came along and said women could do anything they wanted to. Polly always had.
In 1964 she moved to Columbia, where she worked at the Market Restaurant (where she was named South Carolina Waitress of the Year in 1968 by the SC Restaurant Association) and then at the Flaming Pit. She also was part owner of Rigby’s Restaurant.
In 1976 she joined Bob Capes Realtors, where she was their top producer in 1983 and 1988, at the respective ages of 60 and 65. She then joined RE/MAX Realtors in 1993, retiring in June 1999 at the age of 75 after 23 years in real estate. She earned both GRI and CRS certifications and was a lifetime member of the Columbia Board of Realtors Million Dollar Club. She was honored by the Columbia Sales and Marketing Executives Association, Who’s Who in American Women, and Tribute to Women in Industry. At RE/MAX she marketed using postcards featuring pictures of her four great-grandchildren Lindsey, Rebecca, Kayla, and Miranda.
Polly’s explanation for her career success was “I don’t really sell houses. I just keep showing people homes until they find one they like.” Buddy Lewis’s explanation (at an awards breakfast) was “Everybody just loves Polly.”
At age 71 she bought her first IBM PC, which she used then for Multiple Listing Services, and later for keeping up with friends and relatives on AOL and Facebook.
She enjoyed traveling, mostly with her real estate buddies, including to Las Vegas, Sausalito, New Orleans, New York, London, Greece, and Hawaii.
Polly’s primary lifetime devotion was to her family. She has kept in close contact with her 10 siblings and has coordinated almost yearly reunions, with many at the Duford House and then at the Polly House at Spring Branch. All have benefited from her commitment to sharing food, fun, and photos with all, since her teens.
Polly has taken pride in her many beautiful homes, including one she opened for the 1990 Shandon Home and Garden Tour. Her flowers, especially azaleas, made her homes show places, and her gardens of tomatoes and “Polly peas” satisfied many an appetite. As with her other endeavors, she became an expert, becoming a Clemson Extension Master Gardener.
She has always been active in her church, beginning in the Spring Branch Baptist Church (where her mother played piano and several of her brothers became deacons), then Wannamaker Baptist Church (where she sang in the choir), and most recently in the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia and their Encouragers group.
Polly was well known for her dozens of fancy hats (bought to look at, not to wear), her assortment of colorful shoes and socks, and many beloved collections of “old stuff” including cast iron cookware, tiny eyeglasses, sewing boxes, and scissors. One of her favorite sayings was “Whoever dies with the most stuff wins” (a motto she shared with son Austin).
Another lifelong saying, noting life’s dynamic ups and downs, was “This too shall pass.” As years advanced, she began to say, “Old age is not for sissies.” After surviving breast cancer and suffering for several years from dementia and other age-related disabilities, her most common saying was “Are you okay?”
Polly’s kind heart and generosity were legendary, from taking in stray cats to family gifting (both birthday and non-birthday gifts to all kids on each occasion) and offering a helping hand to friends and kin in need. Unable to afford a bike as a child, she finally bought her own in 1965, then donated one annually to Epworth Children’s Home for many years.
More important than these “things,” Polly gave, especially to her grandchildren and great grands, the gift of time and the everyday “simple things” that make memories and happy childhoods. Chris and Heather loved going to Morrison’s Cafeteria, then the toy store and book store, then Cromer’s to watch the monkeys and buy peanuts, to be fed to the squirrels and pigeons at the State House.
Kathy and Kim also loved Cromer’s and the State House, along with playing grocery store with Polly’s pantry items and loose change. They also enjoyed swimming and skiing at the Lake Murray retreat, sleeping on the feather mattresses at the Caesar’s Head mountain house, and riding the Gator at Spring Branch.
Lindsey, Rebecca, Kayla, and Miranda took joy in playing on and painting the play house at Polly’s Hopkins home, sliding and digging in the sand pile, riding scooters on the driveway, making rock dams in the stream, frying shrimp over candles, riding mall escalators, and shopping at Target.
All the grands (and other visitors) appreciated that Polly kept her refrigerator stocked with Cokes and candy.
Thanks to Polly’s Angel granddaughter Kathy Goodwin for coordinating loving 24/7 care since October 2017.
Our gratitude to Polly for her long life of contributing to the happiness and character of our children and the wellbeing of us all. She will be missed.
If you would like to honor Polly’s memory, please consider donating to your local animal rescue shelter, to recognize Polly’s many adopted strays that kept her heart happy. Or, salute her lifelong support of education, especially reading, by donating to the Polly Osborne Endowed Scholarship at USC Sumter (established by Austin). For information, call or email Vicki Singleton, 803-938-3782 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A funeral service will be held at the Spring Branch Baptist Church at 6710 Loop Road in Nichols, South Carolina at 11 a.m. on Saturday June 16, with burial following in the church cemetery. The family will receive visitors from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday evening June 15 at the Meare’s Funeral Home at 795 Main Street in Fair Bluff, North Carolina.
A memorial service will be held at the 3926 Devine Street Chapel of Dunbar Funeral Home in Columbia at 11 a.m. on Saturday June 23.
Please view and/or sign the online guestbook, or view the obituary at https://www.mearesfuneralhome.com/listings.