Landscapes 09
Official Obituary of

Thomas G Connor

July 29, 1938 ~ March 16, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old

Thomas Connor Obituary

Thomas Connor, 85, of Ridgeway, SC, passed away Saturday, March 16, 2024. Tom was born
in Fairfield County to Aubren Connor and Thelma Smith Connor Brooks. He is survived by his
wife of 59 years, Millie “Artie” Connor, his two children, Dedra “Dede” Ruff (John) of Ridgeway,
and Jason Connor (Elizabeth) of Canton, GA, four grandchildren, Shelton Connor, Lacy Connor,
Doug Ruff, and Louise Ruff, a sister, Brenda C. Lee, and a special nephew, Jimmy Mudd. He
was predeceased by his parents.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at 2 pm Saturday, April 20, 2024, at First
Baptist Church of Ridgeway, 200 Valencia Rd., Ridgeway, SC.

Fairfield County lost a true son. Growing up in Winnsboro’s mill village during the later years of
the Great Depression, Tom learned tenacity and resilience. Whatever he lacked in material
things, he had in abundance with a close-knit community of many family and friends. His
fondness for Fairfield never left him and he would return to it often, eventually to live again later
in life.

The foundation of his life was built in Fairfield. It’s where he learned the values of family,
community, and the benefits of education. He liked to brag he was in the top 10 of his high
school class, but in a class of only 7 at Greenbrier School, everyone had that bragging right. He
went on to graduate from the University of South Carolina in 1960 with a degree in Business
Management and, as a testament to his steadfast nature, remained a lifelong Gamecock fan.
Tom valued hard work and began working at a young age. At 15, he became a licensed bus
driver and drove throughout high school. He worked his way through college at the SC
Department of Motor Vehicles. After graduation, Tom’s career began with Nationwide Mutual
Insurance Company in Raleigh, NC, earning what was then considered above-average pay for
college graduates, all of $450 a month. It was there that he met the love of his life, Artie, and
they were married March 14,1965. In his words, this was “the best thing to ever occur in my

Just before marrying, Tom relocated to Columbia, SC, and opened and managed a franchise
employment agency before accepting a job as Personnel Director at Columbia Hospital. Just a
few years later, Bankers Trust of South Carolina hired him to start a new personnel department
for the statewide bank, and this began his banking career. He eventually moved into the
Executive Vice President role at the time of Bankers Trust’s merger with North Carolina National
Bank (NCNB) which later became Bank of America. He continued with the bank as it grew
towards becoming one of the largest in the country, and by the time of his retirement, he served
as Administration Executive for the Carolinas Banking Group responsible for administrations at
435 branches throughout North and South Carolina overseeing SC Personnel, Public Policy,
Marketing, Financial Planning/Monitoring, Carolinas Branch Location Planning, Quality Service,
and Administrative Services. During his 30-year career at the bank, Tom helped countless
young people begin and further their careers, something that brought him so much pleasure. It
was an attitude he carried into retirement in 1997.

Tom and Artie raised their family in Columbia building the same close community for their
children in Whitehall that they’d enjoyed growing up. Their home was open to a steady stream
of neighborhood kids, and they hosted many backyard cookouts. It was also the site of a
legendary neighborhood Halloween party during which they let their friends’ teenagers turn their
garage into a haunted house and gave over every inch of bedroom floor space for an epic
slumber party for all the kids. Tom taught his kids to “waste not, want not” during the 1970’s
energy crisis by plastering those bumper stickers on our bedroom doors to remind us to turn off
our lights, and never failed to remind us to “never forget our last names” as we ventured out into
the world.

While it took him more than 20 years, he finally convinced Artie to move back to his beloved
Fairfield County, and they settled in Ridgeway. After retirement, Tom directed his energy,
knowledge, and skills into his community. He served as a member on Ridgeway’s Town Council
and as chairman of the Commercial Division of United Way of Fairfield County. A driving
purpose for him was how to marshall his connections and the available community resources for
the benefit of others. This led him to spearhead and organize bringing Meals on Wheels to
Ridgeway, home deliveries that continue to this day.

Tom was best known in the community for being the chairman and a founding member of
Ridgeway’s Pig on the Ridge BBQ festival for more than 20 years. This combined a lifelong
passion for good barbeque with his desire to bring people together to the benefit of others. He
was a man who would travel out of his way to hunt down a good barbeque cooker, much to the
consternation of his family who endured quite a few side trips down dirt roads to eat barbeque
under pine trees when we would have rather gotten to the beach much faster. It wasn’t just the
barbeque that he loved about those trips. It was meeting the people who cooked it.
Tom was a man who moved slowly. While it was often a source of much frustration and
amusement for his family, it touched something deep in others. He was able to sit for hours and
enjoy doing what looked like nothing, but he moved at a pace of real connection and trust. No
matter the business to be done, it didn’t take priority over connecting with the person in front of
him. He never neglected to see people as his real business. These connections were one of his
greatest riches.

Tom was a loyal friend and cultivated many, with some friendships lasting more than 70 years.
Your initiation into his friendship group usually involved giving you a nickname. He enjoyed
“rambling”, cookouts and any excuse to eat catfish stew. Whenever he - or his family - needed
help, it seemed just about everybody was a friend who could offer it, from fixing his lawn mower
to helping another young person find a job. He would go out of his way to help his friends in

Tom considered his family his greatest legacy. He took his role of provider with the greatest
seriousness. He stepped into that role at 16 when his father suddenly passed away, and he
never wavered from the responsibility. He supported his mother in every way he could and
helped to raise his younger sister. Later, he devoted himself to his wife and children. Tom didn’t
just provide in financial ways for his family, he supplied us with countless articles to read hoping
to educate us on all the things he thought we needed to pay attention to. And, he most surely
knew what everyone ought to do. Sometimes we listened if it was unsolicited, but always we
sought him out when we needed advice. He was wise and thoughtful and carefully considered a

Tom filled many roles in his life, but one of his most treasured was as Pop to his four
grandchildren whom he adored. He took it as his mission to introduce them to simple pleasures
like fishing, hot dogs from the gas station, home-grown tomatoes, and Little Debbie’s. Pop’s
“shop” was a special place, most notably for its 24/7 doo-wop soundtrack and its fridge full of
Yoo-hoo’s. It was where life’s important conversations about nothing and everything happened.
Pop was known for finding something he really needed - walkie talkies or random objects from
the dump - that turned out to be more used by his grandkids than himself. They were all the
more special because he lent them with detailed instructions of how to care for his things. While
golf cart rides always seemed to be delayed because it might rain, he’d sit for as long as you
wanted to watch the weather. His love of children extended to any little ones who crossed his
path. He took it upon himself to teach them how to chew gum or carry a toothpick in their mouth
properly. To the delight of more than a few, he assisted Santa Claus with his annual calls helping
them extend their list to “a few more things” since he had outgrown his own Barbie dream house
assembly years.

Tom will be greatly missed. If you knew him, you were blessed. He could be extremely witty,
very generous, and unfailingly loyal. He stood tall as our family patriatrch and to make him
proud was a driving force in our lives. In return, he made us extremely proud and forever
grateful to have such a man to call husband, father, Pop, brother, and friend.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Tom’s honor to Fairfield County Council on Aging
or First Baptist Church of Ridgeway

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas G Connor, please visit our floral store.

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Memorial Service
April 20, 2024

2:00 PM
First Baptist Church of Ridgeway
200 Valencia Road
Ridgeway, SC 29130

Video is available for this event


Fairfield County Council on Aging
210 E. Washington Street, Winnsboro SC 29180

Ridgeway First Baptist Church
200 N. Valencia Road, Ridgeway SC 29130


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