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William L. “Bill” Whitmire II, 73, of Batesburg, South Carolina passed away on February 9, 2018. He was born on July 16, 1944 in Sumner, Iowa, the son of James E. and Virginia A. Whitmire and the youngest of five children. His father was a veteran Marine Corps officer, a medical doctor and pillar of his community. James was one of the most influential persons in Bill’s life, shaping him into a man of keen intellect, strong character and uncompromising patriotism.
Those virtues would serve him well in the mid-1960s when he joined the U.S. Army, serving courageously in Viet Nam and following in a long family tradition of military service. Bill took great pride in having served in the defense of this country, often stating that “Whitmires don’t wait to be asked.” His words would become a family motto, as his son - and later grandson - followed in his footsteps, serving in the U.S. Navy.
Settling in Columbia, South Carolina after the war, Bill led a very successful career in the liquor business, becoming widely known and respected across the state for his talent in sales and distribution. It was during his time with Ben Arnold Distributors that he met and later married the former Era Rikard of Leesville, SC.
Growing up on a farm, Bill’s love for the land was evident throughout his life and particularly in his latter years, when he and Era built a small farm in Batesburg, raising goats, donkeys and fur babies while providing a home base for their four children and dozens of grandchildren and extended family members. “The Farm” continues to pull the entire family together to this day - both physically and emotionally.
Bill will be remembered for his love of the land, larger-than-life personality, and a deep love for his family that manifested itself in sometimes comical ways. He is survived by his wife Era; son William Lincoln Whitmire III (Krerica) of Biloxi, MS; daughter Courtenay Whitmire Ellis (Matthew) of Columbia, SC; stepson Michael Brad Rikard (Erica) of Leesville, SC; stepson Nicholas Brian Rikard (Ellen) of Batesburg, SC; sister Jane Schweiker of Bethesda, MD; grandchildren William (Liam) Lincoln Whitmire IV, Joshua Levi Whitmire, Kathryn (Kate) Amsden Ellis, Garrett Whitmire Ellis, Elizabeth (Elle) Eden Ellis, Tyler Brad Rikard, Roxanne (Roxi) Rikard, Tanner Brian Rikard, Pace Thomas Rikard, Conner Philip Rikard.
A Visitation will be held on Monday, February 12, 2018 at 4:00pm at Barr Price Funeral Home, 256 Main Street, in Leesville. A private family service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill’s memory may be directed to the Disabled American Veterans at https://www.dav.org/