Date of BirthDecember 17, 1925

Jean Holmes Hyer Kearns Obituary

Date of BirthDecember 17, 1925

433 Views

Date of PassingJanuary 22, 2016

Jean Holmes Hyer Kearns Obituary

from Charleston, South Carolina, United States

Date of BirthDecember 17, 1925

Jean Holmes Hyer Kearns Obituary

Date of BirthDecember 17, 1925

433 Views

Date of PassingJanuary 22, 2016

Jean Holmes Hyer Kearns Obituary

from Charleston, South Carolina, United States


Jean Holmes Hyer Kearns Jean Holmes Hyer Kearns, widow of Dr. Ralph Ray Kearns, Sr., passed away, Monday, August 22, in Beaufort, South Carolina. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 from 5 to 7 pm at Anderson Funeral Home. A Funeral Service will be on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 2 pm at The Parish Church of Saint Helena with burial in Saint Helena Cemetery. She was born on December 17th, 1925 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Charlestonian parents Edward Allen and Helen von Kolnitz Hyer. She and her family moved back to the Mt. Pleasant area in 1940 where she met her future husband. She graduated from General William Moultrie High School in 1943 then worked at the Charleston Navy Yard during World War II. In 1945, Ray returned to New York City from fighting in the European theater to find he was too young to get married without parental permission. The wedding cake had already been made from laboriously saved sugar rations, so the couple chose to hold their reception three days prior to the wedding ceremony, while waiting on Ray's mother's arrival. They moved to Lakeland, Florida and then Indianapolis, Indiana where Ray attended Lincoln Chiropractic College. Jean continuously helped to tutor Ray and could have easily passed any of the exams herself. After graduation, the couple moved to Beaufort, Ray's mother's hometown. Jean worked for a local dentist, Dr. H. Lipsitz and at Parris Island before becoming a full-time homemaker and mother. She was an active member of St. Helena's Episcopal Church for sixty plus years where she taught Sunday School, served as Bazaar Chairman and President of both the Mary Hull and Maynard Marshall Chapters. She faithfully sent cards to ill and grieving church members, served as the church photographer and also documented the restoration of the church and other events. Her contributions to the community have been endless. She was a charter member of the Jaycee-ettes, holding many offices including President and was named Jaycee-ette of the year. The duties of secretary seemed to be her favorite as she served in that capacity for United Way, Beaufort Historical Society and the Prologue to Freedom Celebration. She was the first Water Festival Secretary, serving four years, as well as being First Lady when Ray was Commodore in 1964. She was very active in The South Carolina Chiropractic Women's Auxiliary, holding many offices and was twice named South Carolina Chiropractor Woman of the year. She was also a member of the Dr. Henry Woodward Chapter of the Colonial Dames XVII Century. Returning to the workforce in 1964, she was a paralegal for over forty years and was the first woman title abstractor in Beaufort, often instructing new, young lawyers. After retiring from Dowling, Dowling, Sanders and Dukes, she opened and managed the Sea Island Title and Abstract Company. She worked part-time for the Levin and Gilley Law Firm and performed freelance title abstract work for other lawyers well into her eighties. She was the first woman member of the Beaufort Rotary Club and recipient of two Paul Harris Fellowship Awards and the Rotary Bowl Award. Prior to being named the club Treasurer, she fulfilled those same duties while Ray held the title for over fifty years. She also held the position of club photographer. Her hobbies were numerous and varied - avid reader, clothes designer/seamstress, painter in water colors and oil and poetess. She was the mother who enthusiastically sponsored numerous cheerleading squads and attended all sports and activities for children and grandchildren. She would even use her lunch break to take pictures of her grandchildren participating in special events. Jean enjoyed over thirty years riding on the back of Ray's Gold Wing motorcycle. This included parade participation, long trips through the North Carolina mountains and motorcycle rallies. She would say that her pride was her family. Often she and Ray would smile at family gatherings and say, "Look at what we started." She is survived by her three children, Connie K. Tootle, R. Ray Kearns, Jr. (Cheryl), Holly K. Lambert (Dan), all of Beaufort, nine grandchildren, K. Lynn Tootle, Jr. (Vanessa), Caroline T. Hayden (Sean), C. Douglas Tootle, III, K. Paul Kearns, Christian K. Tootle, Shaina L. Kearns, Sean P. Kearns, D. Brackin Lambert, Jr., and Grayson H. Lambert, eight great-grandchildren, a sister Suzanne H. Donaldson of Mt. Pleasant and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death are two sisters, Helen H. Kearns and Mary H. Henrikson and a brother, Edward A. Hyer, Jr. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made to St. Helena's Preservation Trust, Friends of Caroline Hospice and the Hospice Care of America. The family would like to thank friends, caretakers, and Summit Place employees for their generous and loving care of Jean. Jean's daily prayer was, "O God, may I serve as long as I have strength, and be humble enough to accept the service of others when I don't. In Jesus' name. Amen." Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family.