Samuel Augustus Syme, Jr.

December 11, 1934 ~ March 5, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Samuel Syme, Jr. Obituary

Samuel Augustus Syme, Jr. was born on December 11, 1934 in Washington, D.C. to Martha Elleneen Boyle and Samuel Augustus Syme, Sr. Becoming the man of the house after his father died in North Africa in 1944, young Eagle Scout Sam went on to graduate from Washington & Lee University in 1956. He met Margaret Jane Stennis during his graduate days at Duke University, where he earned his masters degree and Ph.D. They married and together became loving parents to Jane Grey Syme (Kenna) and John Stennis Syme.

Sam taught history and education at Emory University, Wake Forest University and Coastal Carolina University. Traveling widely throughout his life, he explored the Continent in homage to his love for modern European history, as well as taking students on trips to Russia and Canada later in his academic career. Sam always said he most enjoyed teaching his military and working-adult students at St. Leo’s College at the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and at Coastal Carolina, where his beloved Corgis were often in attendance.

Sam moved to Myrtle Beach in 1973, where he became editor of Coast Magazine. He and his partner Jerry Wayne Walker opened Services Unlimited, a catering company, that became the toast of a growing Grand Strand from Murrells Inlet to Calabash. Sam loved to throw a party, at your home or at his home, a Cane Patch condominium that came to be known affectionately as the Gigglesnort Hotel. He stayed in 2-D for every hurricane for half a century, including Hugo over a stiff Scotch with his beloved mother Martha. Sam was known for his parties, from Labor Day “tail-light” parties to New Year’s Day with collards and hoppin’ John. Also any day with a “y” in it. Sam was best known in all walks of life along the beach for sharing his fabulous holiday cheese biscuits—hope you got some! He helped save sea turtles before that was cool, supported a wide variety of charitable causes, and cooked for anybody and everybody who might need a bite.

Sam was a founding member of The Episcopal Church of the Messiah when it formed in 2013 on the heels of a schism in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. He was a member of Messiah's original governing committee, an encouraging voice, and dedicated financial supporter. After serving the church in that formal capacity, Sam continued to support the church's mission and outreach efforts as well as offering advice, especially during the process of the church's being officially recognized as a congregation of the historical Episcopal diocese.

Later in life, Sam held court at his dining table under the watchful eye of his beloved oil-on-canvas portraits of stern ancestors from the 1830s. His most important audience in recent years was his beloved granddaughter Grey, a first-year graduate student at Vanderbilt Divinity School following her graduation last spring—with honors, Sam was proudly careful to note—from Sewanee: The University of the South.

Sam treasured an old-school, personal touch with family and friends, through phone calls, letters, emails and especially naughty birthday cards. He was proud to have never owned a smartphone, and the Samuel A. Syme, Jr., Endowment Fund at Washington & Lee specifies that monies be used for the preservation of rare and special books, no computers. Sam closed many of his later days talking back to Jeopardy! at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, with a big bowl of coffee ice cream.

Sam died peacefully in the early morning of March 5, 2024, surrounded by family. He is survived by his daughter Jane Grey Kenna and son-in-law John Kenna of Atlanta, Georgia; son John Stennis Syme of Davidson, North Carolina; granddaughter Margaret Elizabeth Grey Kenna of Atlanta, Georgia; and his children’s loving mother, Margaret S. Womble of De Kalb, Mississippi.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Horry County Animal Care Center, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, the Mingo Creek Academy (formerly Tara Hall Home for Boys) or the Land and Building Fund of Church of the Messiah, the Episcopal Church for Myrtle Beach. Please send memorial donations via postal mail to the Episcopal Church of the Messiah, P.O. Box 70367, Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29572.

McMillan-Small Funeral Home and Crematory are serving the Syme family. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, March 7 at Church of the Messiah, 4221 N Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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Memorial Service
March 7, 2024

11:00 AM
The Episcopal Church of the Messiah
4201 N Kings Hwy
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577


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