Mack James Fleming

by | July 26, 2018 6:19 am

HOLLYWOOD – Mack James Fleming, 75, husband of Jo Ann Tobias Fleming, died Monday, July 23, 2018 of natural causes at his residence.
Born September 4, 1942, in Alcolu, he was a son of the late Robert Ben Fleming and the late Alma Ruth Morris Fleming. He was a Clemson graduate
and a member of Union United Methodist Church at Wilson. He attended Seacoast Church.
Mack graduated in 1960 from Manning High School where he lettered in baseball and basketball, and was the class president his freshman, sophomore,
junior, and senior years. He was also, famously, the King of the Ring Hop. He married the love of his life, Jo Ann Tobias, and they moved to Clemson
where he graduated with his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degrees in Horticulture.
After graduation, he began his professional career as a teacher at Trident Technical College in Charleston. After about a decade of teaching, he moved
on to the next phase of his career — as Director of the Lipton Tea Research Station on Wadmalaw Island. While working for Lipton, Mack traveled
much of the world — establishing an experimental tea farm in Mexico (and in the process vastly improving the quality of life for those who lived
there) and conducting further tea research in Kenya and Argentina. While working for Lipton, he also developed and patented a one-of-a-kind
mechanical tea harvester, based on a combine tractor he had worked on his family farm.
In 1987 he and his business partner purchased the tea farm from Lipton, and the Charleston Tea Plantation was born. During this time, Mack lectured
widely on tea horticulture and developed propagation techniques that were valued both at home and abroad. He worked as a consultant in Hawaii and
for the Ministry of Agriculture in Egypt, as well as for leaders in tea development in the Republic of Georgia and Brazil. For the next 16 years, this
family business that employed dozens of locals produced American Classic Tea, the only tea grown in America.
In 2003 Mack sold the Charleston Tea Plantation and returned to the profession that he dedicated yet another chapter of his working life to — teaching
generations of students at Trident Technical College. He retired in 2015 at the age of 72, to focus on the propagation, cultivation, and sale of his own
Carolina Select Tea, and to spend time with his wife, his children, and his beloved grandchildren. His family greatly appreciates the tremendous
outpouring of sympathy and support expressed by his friends and former students. Mack’s consummate skill with all plants, trees, and flowers was
extraordinary. One of his students summed it up best: “This planet is a better and more beautiful place because of him.”
He is survived by his wife of Hollywood; a son, Mack Randall Fleming (Beth) of Hollywood; two daughters, Virginia Fleming Joczik (Mark) of
Crozet, Virginia and Sarah Fleming McLester (Donald) of Wadmalaw Island; two brothers, Bob Fleming (Catherine) of Manning and Joe Fleming
(Mary) of Alcolu; two sisters, Dorothy Garnett of Florence and Thelma Huggins (Dick) of Garden City; six grandchildren, Elizabeth Joczik, William
Joczik, Harrison Fleming, Edward Joczik, Landon Fleming and Tanner Fleming; and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at Union United Methodist Church at Wilson, with his nephews, the Revs. Todd
Fleming and Jim Fleming officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Randall Fleming, Mark Joczik, William Joczik, Edward Joczik, Alan Morgan, and Bobby Fleming.
Visitation will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Friday, July 27, 2018, at Stephens Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to Wilson Community Cemetery at Union United Methodist Church, c/o Buddy Holladay, 7786 Greeleyville Highway,
Manning, SC 29102.
Stephens Funeral Home & Crematory, 304 N. Church Street, Manning, is in charge of arrangements, (803) 435-2179.

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