|1/22/2014 8:53:00 AM|
Remembering 'Boots' Gregg
The Florence community lost a well-respected member last week. James Claussen “Boots” Gregg, 88, passed away at his residence on Jan. 14. “Boots was special. He was plain, down to earth and as solid as you could ever be,” said Jerry Lee of Evergreen. “It was a pleasure to call him a friend.” Boots was born in Florence County, a son of the late William McCall and Irene Claussen Gregg. He was the last survivor of 10 children.
After serving in the US Navy, he returned to play baseball for Newberry College. He then came home to Florence where he worked with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, and the State Probation and Parole Board. He retired as Florence County Clerk of Court after many years service. “When Boots was Clerk of Court, nobody would run against him,” Lee recalled. “Skip Waddell, who served as city auditor, said he would rather fight a rattlesnake than run against Boots in politics.” Mr. Gregg came from an athletic family.
Boots and his brother, the late Ben Gregg, played during an era of some of the best baseball Florence has ever experienced, said Lee. The Greggs played in the semi-pro Palmetto League that played at the old American Legion Baseball Stadium on Oakland Ave. They were members of the American Legion Post 1 team that brought home state championship titles in 1942 and 1943. “This league produced some of the best baseball players Florence ever had and the Greggs were right in the middle of it,” Lee commented.
Lee was nine years younger than Boots, but he remembers watching him play at the old stadium on Oakland Ave. “He was my hero,” Lee said. When Jerry got older, he had the opportunity to play baseball with his “hero.” By then the league‘s name had changed to Eastern Carolina Amateur League. “Those were some of the best years of my life,” he said referring to that era of baseball.
Lee said Boots’ grandson, Davy Gregg, inherited the Gregg family’s baseball talent and followed in his grandfather’s steps. He played for Wilson High and then the University of South Carolina. In later years, Boots and his brother Ben were very supportive of the Florence Red Wolves, Lee noted. Boots was also an excellent golfer, Lee noted.
A longtime member of Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Boots showed his devotion to his church by serving in many capacities, including Sunday School teacher, the Men of the Church, church elder and church choir. He had a good voice and sang solos in church and in weddings. He sang his last solo the Sunday before his passing. “Boots enjoyed fishing and was an avid quail hunter,” said Lee. “He hunted with the late Bobby Gandy. That was a great sport in its day. “He loved God’s creation of the great outdoors.”
Boots enjoyed working in his garden and shared his bounty with many. “There will be a void not seeing him working in his garden or at the Gregg Brothers Store,” said his friend Jerry. “I imagine his family will miss him greatly.” Boots Gregg is survived by his wife of 65 years, Carolyn Lipscomb Gregg, and his four children, James Claussen (Marianne) Gregg Jr., Carolyn Gregg (Butch) Anderson, John Marshall (Robin) Gregg and David Wayne (Brenda) Gregg.
He also leaves behind his grandchildren, Jay Gregg, Charlie Gregg, Davy Gregg, Colton Gregg, Garrett Gregg, Traci Stokes, Nikki Kirsch, and Tricia Robinson; great-grandchildren, Courtney and Carolyn Gregg, Andrew and Brianna Stokes, Walker and Tanner Robinson, Drake, Tessa and Eli Kirsch, McCall, Baylor, Lilly and Liam Gregg, and his sisters-in-law; Annie Kate Gregg and Rosa Lee Atwell Gregg.