Endowment to honor Hayes F. Samuels Jr. and David A. Sanders

by | September 3, 2018 3:31 pm

Frances Nelson Hooks, Carrie Sinkler-Parker and Brenda Burton Webb present a $500 endowment from Boylan Haven Mather Academy Class of 1961 to Claflin University.

Clarendon County lost a well-known resident in January with the death of Hays F. Samuel, Jr. Many knew him through Samuels Funeral Home or the Clarendon County Coroner’s Office. However, some still remember him as a fun-loving high school student.

Samuels attended Boylan Haven Mather Academy (BHMA), a boarding high school in Camden. Classmate Carrie Sinkler-Parker remembers the school days strongly, from high-school mischief to required “duty work” for students, such as working in the dining hall in rotations.

“Many of us were not related to each other. We came from all across the country. But we just had a normal life together,” said Sinkler-Parker.

Samuels was popular with the rest of the students and played baseball and basketball as well as halfback in football. He was outgoing and often outspoken.

“He had the gift of gab,” said Sinkler-Parker, who considered that his biggest hobby. “That’s what made him so likeable.”

Sumter native David Sanders, Samuels’ roommate, was in many ways Samuels’ opposite. A quiet man, Sanders did not share Samuels’ gift of gab, but he was equally well-liked. Sanders preferred the arts, eventually becoming an artist in his own right, working with multiple mediums. According to Sinkler-Parker, after high school and college, his BHMA friends dubbed him “Pablo.”

While in high school, the pair, along with most of the boys, never wanted to study, even though the school had an organized study hall every afternoon. In particular, the boys disliked French class, both the subject and the teacher.

When test days came, Samuels, who sat behind Sinkler-Parker, would ask to see her paper and would then offer the answers to the other boys.

“He passed French, even though he could not read or write French,” said Sinkler Parker. “And so did the rest of the boys.”

Samuels and Sanders were playful in high school, often walking the edge of getting into trouble. “But not totally in trouble,” said Sinkler-Parker.

Although leading very different lives, the pair remained strongly bonded throughout their lifetimes. When Samuels passed away in January, Sanders attended the funeral service, in spite of his own health battles. Soon after the funeral, Sanders’ health continued its rapid decline, and Sanders passed away in May.

Though it has been 67 years since those high-school days, 26 of the original graduating class members from 1961 remain and continue to be a tightly-knit group. At the recent BHMA reunion, those from the Class of 1961 gathered privately to remember Samuels and Sanders. As had been pre-planned, money was gathered for an endowment to Claflin University, given in honor of their two recently deceased classmates.

Sinkler-Parker will continue to hold Samuels and Sanders in her heart and she feels the two are having a party in Heaven.

“And speaking French, I hope,” said Sinkler-Parker.

 

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