On September 5, 1950, Elder George Edward Priest was the last child borne to the union of the late Reverend George Priest and Deaconess Maybell Priest. His childbirth was difficult, and his mom almost died. Consequently, he was given the nickname “Stormy Weather;” later his siblings affectionately called him “Georgie Porgie.”
Completion of studies at J.B. Beck Elementary School, Howard Junior/High Schools enabled him to graduate in June 1968 – Georgetown, South Carolina. Soon, he was in the United States Air Force. As an Air Operations Specialist, he operated radar, communications and electronic equipment managing battle space by performing statistical and strategic missions during the infamous Vietnam War. Additionally, he served as an Aircraft Log Clerk. Duties included managing and sustaining all aircraft log books, aeronautical and maintenance records, directives, reports, and correspondence. Having survived the horrendous war, he received an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force. Having flown numerous missions as a Flight Navigator during the war, he would begin to have numerous health issues due to Agent Orange exposure. These challenges were faced with perseverance and unwavering faith in God.
As an aside, he would joke that he honed his typing skills in the military. He was proud of the fact that he could type 125 accurate words per minute. As a wordsmith, stories, sayings, experiences about living would fall from his lips. Philosophical would be the best description. He loved to travel to New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, yes, even Georgetown to see family members.
He met and married the love of his life Sarah Bell “Tootie” Vereen on March 21, 1977. They shared 43 years of marital bliss. As a couple, they came “out of the world” and gave their lives to the service of the Lord. A founding member of True Way Holiness Church, Elder Priest served faithfully for 43 years ascending to an Eldership. For a number of years, he pastored True Way Holiness Church #2 in Lake City, SC. Additionally, he was a gifted songster. He was taught to play his first guitar chords under a gigantic maple tree one sweltering summer by the late renowned, Sister Ora Mae Terrell, evangelist, guitarist, and composer. Clean. Orderly. Precise. He was an asset to the Hospitality Ministry.
A stellar 20-year career was completed at Grand Strand Hospital, Myrtle Beach, SC. As a radiologist, he carved out an impeccable representation in the Radiology Department. A lifelong learner he matriculated at Horry Technical College. Studies as a Data Processing Specialist was completed.
Upon completing specified training and receiving certification, Elder and Missionary Priest were a blessing to numerous children in need of loving care and spiritual guidance. As foster parents they opened their home and hearts to over 75 foster children of Horry County for a duration of 25 years. Recognition for outstanding services rendered were bestowed on the couple on May 30, 2006 and May 27, 2010, 14 years and 20 years respectively, by the South Carolina Department of Social Services and Horry County Social Services Department. Without a shadow of a doubt, these children were blessed that they answered the call to care, love and protect them from dysfunctional families and households.
Having departed this life on July 13, 2020, he leaves to mourn: his loving wife, Sarah Bell Priest; daughters Suplisa Priest -Columbia, SC, Elizabeth Priest and G’maya Priest of the home; sons - Siegfried Priest – Conway, SC and Gunnery Sergeant E-7 Shaun (Regina) Thomas – Albany, Georgia. They raised two grandchildren as their own, Lachella Priest and Tashara Priest (Paul) Miconi both of Columbia, SC, seven additional grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Elder Priest was predeceased by his sisters, Kathy Britton, Florie Priest Davis, and Pauline Priest Brown, and his brother Moses Richard Priest. In addition to the aforementioned children and their children, he leaves to mourn his sister Minister Beulah Priest White – Murrells Inlet, SC, two sisters-in-law Hazel Vereen and Lenora (Darrell) Harris; one brother-in-law Bennie (Patricia) Vereen all of Longs, SC. He leaves behind a host of nieces, nephews, extended family, church family and friends.
Elder George E. Priest of Little River, SC passed July 13, 2020. There will be a service held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, July 18, 2020, on the grounds of True Way Holiness Church in Little River. Burial will follow at True Way Holiness Church cemetery off of Mt. Zion road. Ocean View Funeral Home Myrtle Beach Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
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