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Donella R. Brown WilsonMay 24, 1909 ~ January 12, 2018 (age 108)
On Friday afternoon, January 12, 2018, Donella Roberta Brown Wilson quietly entered into her eternal rest.
Donella Wilson was the only child of the late Henry Brown and Minnie Bryant Brown Logan. She was born May 24, 1909 on the Peterkin Plantation in Fort Motte, SC, lands on which her grandparents and great-grandparents had worked as slaves. Her paternal grandmother read the Bible to her, taught her to pray, and to bless her food. Early on, Donella wanted to learn to read and to teach others to read and write. By the light of an oil lamp and a Sears catalog, she first learned to read. A teaching assignment took her back to those same lands in Fort Motte as a teacher in a multi-grade, one-room schoolhouse.
In 1933, Donella earned her teaching credentials from Allen University; and when she retired in 1971, she had worked all of her years teaching in the rural counties of South Carolina—serving, training, and helping to shape multiple generations of students.
Donella was married to the late Reverend John R. Wilson, Sr. At the time of his death in 1998, they had been married 66 years and for 62 of those years, had lived and raised their four children at 1214 Heidt Street, the home they purchased in 1937.
A true Christian woman, she was a lifelong member of Union Baptist Church. Over the years, Donella served in many organizations, following and supporting her husband as he served as pastor and interim pastor in several churches in the Midlands of South Carolina. Until her health began to decline, she served as Mother of the church at Union Baptist.
For many years, Donella and her late husband were active in the Waverly Community, always working to make the community a better place to live. She voted in every local, state, and national election since 1947.
Over her lifetime, Donella was the recipient of many honors, awards, and citations. Her many associations include: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., lifetime membership in the NAACP, Household of Ruth, Women’s Home Aid Society, the South Carolina and the Richland County Retired Teachers Associations, Allen University Alumni Association, Interdenominational Alliance of Ministers Wives and Widows, Inc., the Columbia Counsel of Garden Clubs and the Carver Garden Club. Donella was National Superintendent Emeritus of the United Order of Tents, Southern District #4. She was a 2011 honoree of the AT&T African-American History Calendar. In 2017, she was awarded South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto, by Governor Henry McMaster.
She was predeceased by a sister, Mary Ellen Logan Heyward (Samuel).
Donella Wilson is survived by her four children: Mrs. Shirley Wilson Clinton, Mrs. Patricia Wilson Clayton, Mrs. Minnie Wilson-Bivins (Marion), and John R. Wilson, Jr., all of Columbia, South Carolina; four grandchildren: Mrs. Donella Clinton Richards, Taylor Clinton, Jr. (Venita) and Robert L. Clayton (LaToya), all of Columbia, South Carolina, and Mrs. Jeanette Clinton Holley of Morrisville, North Carolina; two great-granddaughters, Shirley Nicole Clinton of Boiling Springs, South Carolina and Kirin Donella Clayton of Columbia, South Carolina; nieces, nephews, numerous cousins and other relatives, friends, and a very special, special couple Jackie and Stephanie Whitmore of Columbia, all of whom are diminished by her passing, but cherish the enrichment to their lives through her life.
The John and Donella Wilson Scholarship Fund
Allen University, 1530 Harden Street, Columbia SC 29204