Jean Orr Belcher (Rock Hill)
Jean Orr Belcher (nee Betty Jean Orr) of Rock Hill died on November 13, 2017, at the age of 86.
A native of Inman, Jean was predeceased by her husband, Posey Belcher Jr., and by her parents, Esther Burgess Orr and Warren Herbert Orr. Jean was a 1949 graduate of Inman High School, where she was the valedictorian. She graduated magna cum laude from Furman University in 1953, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education.
Jean began her teaching career in 1953 at Laurel Elementary School in Greenville. In 1954 she married Posey Belcher Jr., and moved to Durham, N.C., where she taught elementary school while her husband attended seminary and pastored a small church in Washington, N.C. Following a two-year pastoral internship in Mobile, Ala., Jean and Posey moved to Barnwell, where Posey served as the pastor of Barnwell First Baptist Church for nineteen years. In 1972 Jean returned to her teaching career at Barnwell Elementary School after a fifteen-year hiatus to rear her four children. In 1978 the Belcher family moved to Walterboro, where Posey served as the pastor of Walterboro First Baptist Church for sixteen years. Jean continued teaching at Hampton Street Elementary and Black Street Elementary schools in Walterboro.
After retiring in 1994, Jean and her husband moved back to Barnwell, where they became deeply involved in community activities. In 2006 the Belchers moved to Rock Hill, where their older daughter lives. They eventually settled at Westminster Towers, a nearby continuing care retirement community with rehabilitation and health facilities.
Jean received several honors and awards for her service to children and the community. She received the Teacher of the Year Award for Black Street Elementary School for the 1993-1994 school year. In 1997 during her retirement, Jean was the founder and first president of the Barnwell County Arts Council, and the Jean Orr Belcher Scholarship Fund was established by that organization in her honor in 2005 after she retired from several years of service as president. In 1998 Jean was named the Barnwell Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year.
Jean’s life was devoted to serving God, her family, and the children of the community. In addition to her unwavering support of her husband’s ministry, she made her own contributions to the ministries of their churches in numerous ways. She was a children’s choir director, Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School teacher, pianist, and choir member. If she knew of children who needed transportation to Sunday School, she made sure that they got to and from church, often driving them herself. Her passion for children, whether her own or those in the community at large, was readily apparent. She was tireless in her efforts to improve the educations, circumstances, and the lives of the youngest members of the community. Her children each received a broad education, including the standard academic curricula as well as opportunities to explore other disciplines, especially music. All four children completed high school at the top of their classes and went on to graduate magna cum laude from Furman University and to complete graduate degrees. In 2006 Jean was honored to be named the South Carolina Mother of the Year.
The family is grateful to the staff and community of Westminster Towers, Westminster Health and Rehabilitation, HomeBridge, and Hospice and Community Care of Rock Hill for becoming Jean’s good friends and providing her the care she needed. They are also thankful for her Oakland Baptist Church family and for their support and care during Jean’s years in Rock Hill, as well as for her many friends who have stayed in touch, many of these from Posey and Jean’s former churches.
Surviving Jean are her son David Orr Belcher and wife Susan of Cullowhee, N.C., her son Philip Burgess Belcher and wife Kelly of Asheville, N.C., her daughter Elizabeth Belcher Mixon and husband Ben of Rock Hill, S.C., and her daughter Miriam Belcher Ponder and husband Dean of Huntersville, N.C. Their grandchildren are Owen Belcher and wife Olga Shupyatskaya of Rochester, N.Y., Kera Belcher of Raleigh, N.C., Sarah Mixon and Eleanor Mixon of Rock Hill, S.C., and Noah Ponder of Huntersville, N.C. She is also survived by her sister, Martha Orr White, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Jean’s memorial service will be held at the Barnwell First Baptist Church on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at 2 p.m. The burial will follow at 3 p.m. at the Old Baptist Cemetery in Barnwell. Both the memorial and graveside services will be conducted by Rev. David Turner, a long-time friend of the Belchers and a former pastor at Barnwell Presbyterian Church. Prior to the memorial service, the family will receive friends in the sanctuary of the church at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be directed to the Posey and Jean O. Belcher Organ Concert fund at Furman University, an endowment created by the Belcher children in honor of Posey and Jean’s 50th wedding anniversary; the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; the Barnwell County Arts Council; or Hospice and Community Care of Rock Hill.
Mole Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Please visit the online registry at molefh.com.