Gilbert – Dr. Martha Frances Smith Kneece, 87, died on July 20th, 2021, after a long illness.
Born in rural Lexington County on August 8th, 1933, she was the only child of Ernest Felder Smith and Pearl Permelia Lake Smith. She attended Pond Branch School, graduated as class valedictorian from Gilbert High School in 1951 and attended Columbia College (class of 1955). For ten years she taught piano in the Gilbert Public Schools, taught both piano and organ at home and worked part-time for the Pond Branch Telephone Company which was started by her grandfather in 1903. From 1964 to 1999 she worked full time at the Telephone Company. Before retiring in 1999, Mrs. Kneece served for 34 years in various positions and as corporate secretary of PBT (formerly Pond Branch Telephone Company). She also served on the Board of Lexington Medical Center as well as the Board of Visitors and Board of Trustees of Columbia College. She was a member of the Gilbert Ruritan Club, Director of the Gilbert Community Park, and for many years, chaired the Gilbert Community Park Foundation. She was an honorary member of the Pelion High School FFA and was awarded the State of South Carolina’s highest honor in 2000, the Order of the Palmetto. In addition, she was inducted into the South Carolina Telephone Association’s Hall of Fame in 2003. In March 2007 she was awarded a “Woman of Distinction” award by the Girl Scouts of the Midlands to Upstate. April of 2010, she was awarded the Columbia College Alumnae Association’s Distinguished Service Award.
Columbia College also awarded her an honorary doctorate in Business Administration, as well as its highest honor, the Columbia College Medallion. Martha was honored again by Columbia College when a dormitory was named for her (Kneece Hall).
A lifetime member of Pond Branch Methodist Church, for many years Martha taught Sunday School, served on Administrative Council (secretary for 28 years) and was a member of UMW. She was organist and pianist for 70+ years (since age 13) and served as choir director and committee for special programs.
She is survived by four children: Debbie K. Johnson (Kim), Ann K. Amick (Tommy), Luther E. Kneece (Carla), and David A. Kneece (Paula); six grandchildren, Allison A. Barry (Durrell), Tara K. Denton (Matthew), Kristopher E. Kneece (Courtney), Jenesis Koloni Johnson, Molly R. Kneece, Kramer R. Kneece (Megan); and eight great-grandchildren, Kaylee Faye and Kollin Everette Kneece, Andrew Wilson, Rett Evans and Emery Kate Denton, Lukas Clay and Micah Paul Barry and Kira Rayne Kneece. She was predeceased by her husband, N. Everette Kneece, her parents and a grandson, Thomas Clay Amick II.
Visitation will be held 1:00pm-2:30pm, Friday, July 23, 2021 at Pond Branch United Methodist Church F.A.B., 1913 Pond Branch Road, Gilbert, SC with her service in the church sanctuary at 3:00pm. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Memorials may be made to PBUMC or the Martha S. Kneece Scholarship Fund at Columbia College, 1301 Columbia College Drive, Columbia SC 29203.
The family would like to thank Mrs. Birdell Perry for 12 years of her dedicated service and companionship and love to both our mother and our father. The family also thanks ComForCare Home Care, Senior Healthcare Associates, and Crescent Hospice for their assistance, especially Chris Hornung, Sheila Harris, Tashima Chappell, Noy Khampaseut, Vanessa Yowell, Joyce Kelley, and Kayla Campbell with ComForCare; Heather Shaw with Senior Healthcare Associates; and Leah Reese, Barbara Rowland, and Sharon Johnson with Crescent Hospice. You have become members of our family and the assistance, concern, and loving care you have given our mother will never be forgotten. She loved each one of you.
Barr-Price Funeral Home, Lexington, Chapel, is assisting the family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Martha Frances Smith Kneece, please visit our floral store.