Mr. Fred Douglas Garrett, Sr., departed this life on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at the McCall Hospice House. Born on December 23, 1924, to the late Rev. John E. and Mrs. Mattie Baston Garrett in Modoc (Edgefield County), South Carolina, he was raised in Salley (Aiken County), South Carolina.
He graduated from the Schofield Normal and Industrial High School in 1943, after which he enlisted in the United States Navy and served until 1946. He then matriculated at South Carolina State College and graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree.
Subsequently, Mr. Garrett was employed in Florence County, South Carolina, as a county agent for Clemson University’s Agricultural Extension Program. While there, he met and married the love of his life, the former Miss Mamie Williams. In 1952, they moved to Greenville, where he became the Greenville County Extension Agent.
In 1958, he was hired as a part-time employee of the Watkins, Arnold and Sheppard Mortuary. Later, he became part-owner/manager and the name was changed to Watkins, Garrett & Woods Mortuary to reflect the new owners. In 1993, Fred Garrett, Sr., became the sole owner.
Mr. Garrett’s community and professional involvement included the NAACP (Life Member); the South Carolina Morticians Association (President); the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association Board (Life Member); the Greenville County Planning Commission; the Greenville County Medical Examiner’s Board; Goodwill Industries (Board Member); Minority Business Development Corporation (Board Member); 100 Black Men; Mu Pi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; Delta Beta Boule; Club Esquire; Greenville Technical College Entrepreneurs Forum; Rainbow PUSH Steering Committee; Minority Economic Development Institute (Board Member); the Greenville Urban League/Urban League of the Upstate (Board Member); Greenville County Human Relations Board; Dan River Mills Scholarship Board; Greenville Technical College Advisory Board; Senior Citizens’ Board; Senior Action Advisory Board; First Union National (now Wells Fargo) Bank Local Advisory Board; Greenville Chamber of Commerce (Board Member); the Chamber of Commerce 300 Club; the Allen Temple Community Development Corporation Board; USC Spartanburg’s Carolina Piedmont Foundation; Habitat for Humanity (Board Member); Save our Sons (Board Member); and the Phillis Wheatley Board.
Mr. Garrett received numerous awards for outstanding public service in his profession, his community and his church, among which were the Outstanding Service Award – South Carolina Morticians Association; Outstanding Contributions and Support Award – 3rd District – National Funeral Directors Association; 1988 Man of the Year – National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association Board; 1997 Finalist – the Nelson Mullins Business Person of the Year; Community Development Man of the Year – South Carolina State College; 1980 Outstanding Service Award – South Carolina Morticians Association; 1978 Outstanding Service Award – 3rd District - National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association; 1981 Outstanding Contributions and Support Award – National Funeral Directors Association, District III; 1985 Alumni Achievement Award – Greenville Alumni Chapter of South Carolina State College; 1988 Business Man of the Year – Springfield Baptist Church; 1988 Leadership in Community Involvement Award – South Carolina Baptist Convention; 1988 Man of the Year – National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association; 1996 Minority Business of the Year – Greenville Chamber of Commerce; 1997 Finalist, Business Person of the Year – Greenville Business Magazine; 2003 Business Person of the Year – Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; 2004 Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ HBCUs in Business Award – HCBU Classic; 2004 Martin L. King, Jr., Award – Baptist Ministers’ Fellowship; 2004 Service Award – Enoree Baptist Church; 2007 Civic Leadership Award – State Conference of the NAACP; 2007 Community Service Award – United Negro College Fund; 2007 Outstanding Leadership Award – Springfield Baptist Church; 2008 Jewel of Greenville Honoree – Beyond Differences; 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award – SHARE (Community Action Program); 2012 Living Legends of Funeral Service Award - National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association; 2013 Trailblazer Award – Matthews International Casket Company at the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association Convention; 2013 Fred D. Garrett, Sr., Scholarship named in his honor – South Carolina State College; 2014 the Stellar Alumni Award – South Carolina State University; Lifetime Legacy Award – the John Gamble Committee; and the Business and Community Service Award from the Minority Economic Development Institute.
Mr. Garrett’s faithful service, generosity and commitment to the Springfield Baptist Church were exemplified in his tenure on the Trustee Board, during which he was chairman for 22 years, and his membership on the Building Fund Committee (chairman), Budget Committee, Finance Committee, and the Springfield Baptist Church Executive Committee of the Boy Scouts of America.
Mr. Garrett is survived by his loving wife of sixty-six years, Mrs. Mamie Williams Garrett of the home; two daughters, Janet (Gregory) Garrett Owens of Jacksonville, FL and Leah D. Garrett of Greenville; one son, Fred D. “Doug” (Ramika “Sky”) Garrett, Jr., of Greenville; four grandchildren, Garrett J. (Natalie) Owens of Palm Coast, FL, Morgan E. Owens of Jacksonville, FL, Emerald P. Garrett of Washington, DC, and A. D. Langston Garrett of Greenville; two great-grandchildren, Neah and Noah Owens; three brothers, Charlie B. Garrett of Richmond, IN, Kent A. (Rosalie) Garrett of Long Island, NY and Thomas J. Garrett of New Jersey; other relatives and friends.
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