Ms. Judith Edenfield Livingston
New Ellenton, SC-A celebration of life service for Ms. Judith Edenfield Livingston age 83 will be held 2:00 pm Thursday November 17, 2022 at Cole Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Keith Ussery officiating. Interment will follow at Southlawn Cemetery. Mrs. Livingston, age 83, went to be with the Lord on Monday November 14, 2022. She was the daughter of the late Mr. Ernest Edenfield and the late Mrs. Rena B. Floyd Edenfield, and resided at 203 Todd Ave. New Ellenton, SC. Mrs. Livingston worked at DuPont-SRS for 30 years. She loved crafting, painting, crocheting, and “digging in the dirt” just to name a few. She loved her family even more and will always be remembered as “The Best Nana Ever.” Survivors include: one daughter Gina Jones (Mitch) Kirkland, New Ellenton, SC; one sister Patsy Dinkins; two grandchildren Lauren Kirkland (Matthew) Stringfield, Aiken, SC, and Travis Mitchell (Ashley) Kirkland, New Ellenton, SC; and two great grandchildren TJ and Ava. She was preceded in death by: her beloved son Tony Lee Brittain, Jr.; one brother Larry Edenfield; one sister Wanda Vickers; and one brother-in-law Odell Dinkins. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorials be made to the Aiken SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare 199 Willow Rd Aiken, SC 29801 or the Aiken County Animal Shelter 333 Wire Rd Aiken, SC 29801. COLE FUNERAL HOME 1544 UNIVERSITY PKWY (118 BYPASS) AIKEN, SC 29801 803-648-7175. Please sign the online registry at www.colefuneralhomeinc.net.
Judith “Judi” Edenfield Livingston
Judith Renette Edenfield was born May 24th,1939 in a little one-bedroom house in Winnsboro, South Carolina in the same four poster double bed that remains in her room today. As a hopeful little girl, she described vivid memories of staring up at the ornately carved headboard dreaming of what her future may hold. Judi was born to Rena and Ernest “Smokey” Edenfield who both worked at the local textile mill and was the youngest of three children (Pasty and Larry) until Tappi Ann was adopted into the family years later. From a young child Judi was very timid and shy. Those attributes would not follow her through the years, however. She would go on to find her voice as she got older. Challenges of life and being a single mother would mold her into the fiery and strong, independent matriarch that would come to be lovingly known as “Weezer.” She would also go on to accumulate a few more last names throughout her 83 years, but none stuck and would suit her as well as the name given to her at birth by her beloved “mother and daddy.” Early on Judi was a bit of a tomboy and liked to spend her days shadowing her father tinkering around outdoors. Always being eager to learn how to fix things and use woodworking tools, she attentively studied her hero. She was much more content to be her father’s buddy working on projects in the yard than play with dolls or be indoors in the kitchen cooking with her mother. Her skill at handiwork would be something she would excel at and enjoy up until the very end of her life.
She loved animals from the time she could walk and always had a tender spot in her heart for all God’s creatures. She told of a time she gave her mother quite the scare when she came upon her playing with a pit of baby snakes in the dirt. I think she truly did prefer the company of animals to people, especially as she matured in age. Young Judi had an admiration for the little blue granite “Greenbrier School” of her childhood where she was in a Tom Thumb wedding. The school is still standing today and she was able to return for a visit not too many years ago to Winnsboro and the beautiful school she always fondly remembered.
Change and a need for work would bring the family to Charleston, SC where her father worked at the naval shipyard. Judi recounted a clear memory of standing on the Cooper River Bridge and proudly waving the American flag to welcome in the soldiers returning from World War II. She unintentionally dropped her flag into the water below and burst into tears prompting her mother to take a sibling’s flag to offer her as a replacement. When the family moved to New Ellenton, she had her first job at the local movie theater at age 14. She always said that she enjoyed working and wanted to have her own money. She later worked as a young teen at the local drug store with a soda fountain in the back. She would often re-tell the story of when the owner asked her to cook him a burger at closing time after she had just cleaned the grill. She defiantly left the grill on with the burger cooking and her apron on the doorknob as notice of her resignation and went home without saying a word.
Growing up as a teen in the fifties she enjoyed going to the local “Sonny’s” hangout with friends and described dancing until they rubbed holes in the soles of their shoes and going to the community pool to cool off in the summertime. She would assert her individuality by showing off her duck tail hair style combed to flip down rather than upwards as was the trend. In her early twenties she attended a business school on Central Avenue in Augusta, GA. She developed an expansive vocabulary and would later be entrusted with writing memos and letters on behalf of the attorney she worked for. She often found enjoyment solving crossword puzzles in the local newspaper. Initially working as a secretary at the Savannah River Site she eventually became a lab analyst and technician, which she very much enjoyed, in a field that was predominately male. She did not allow this to deter her ambition and she went on to have a 30-year career at SRS. She was instrumental in the early years of the United Way of the CSRA chapter and had a very active role for the 50th anniversary in 1986 winning an award for her poem “Eyes.”
Judi was a genuinely selfless soul. She would be the first to join a charitable mission whether it was adopting a child overseas to sponsor or another worthy cause. She was quick to pull out her credit card or write the check and donate. Her generosity was boundless and extended beyond just her family and loved ones. This included giving even when she didn’t have it to give, that was just the type of person she was. However, this did not mean on occasion she would not treat herself to a pair of knee-high red boots. For instance, Judi made a bit more of a splurge when she purchased a custom white convertible. She was at first questioned by the sales staff about her choice of tan interior but proudly recalled that she surprised them all when customers were offering to buy it before she could even pick it up off the lot.
To say she was talented would not begin to scratch the surface of the God-given gift that she possessed. She was an incredibly skilled artist and able to create in any medium. She could draw, paint, crochet and make anything she set out to do. Being known for crafting many things, she devoted a labor of love to her creations and enjoyed giving them away to others. She was able to make intricate carousel music boxes out of dried gourds and nativity scenes from clothespins with painstaking detail. Christmas ornaments made from bolls of cotton, painted sand dollars and elaborate painted wood decorations were produced in Nana’s workshop. One of her most inspired pieces was a replica of a Thomas Kinkade painting of the “Bridge of Faith.” She could make any Halloween costume that was asked of her without even a pattern. She was our “go-to” for help with school projects, because if anybody could do it, Nana could.
Judi enjoyed dancing the Carolina shag, was a part of a competitive clogging group with her son by her side, avid gardener and bird lover. She would hunt deer, ride a motorcycle and four-wheeler and shoot squirrels or muskrats that dare trespass on her grounds. Some of the best talks and visits were had with stories being shared on a screened porch or together at the lake. She would go to the auction out in the sticks once a week and it was always a surprise to see what she would return with in the back of her pick-up, whether it be 20 pounds of multi-colored buttons or a croquet set.
During her lifetime she was able to see Elvis in concert and had front row seats to see Cher with her son. She was able to take an art class with Jim Harrison and visit the Grand Canyon, Hawaii and Mexico. She had a sharp- wit and could tell you off and hold her own with a quick comeback in any debate. She was not afraid to verbalize if she felt strongly about something and let it be known, even in the form of a letter to the editor. Judi had a bit of a rebellious spirit getting her first tattoo and riding a motorcycle well into her sixties. After retirement she drove a little red 5-speed truck to a part-time job at the Economy Hardware store in town. She enjoyed staying productive, giving her some spending money enabling her to continue with her many hobbies.
Life could be unkind at times. She had more than her share of disappointments and heartache but that didn’t reflect in her attitude, treatment of others or the goodness she chose to put back into the world. Never having found her soul mate, the true loves of her life were her children, human and four-legged alike, and her grandchildren. She was fiercely loyal to her family. She loved with her whole heart and poured it out over us. Nothing was too good for her grandchildren, whether it be clothes, trips or a swimming pool, no expense was spared. I will never forget her coming home with an overflowing bag of clothes from B.C. Moore’s department store in Barnwell or the Valentine pageant dress from a boutique in downtown Aiken that would have been out of the budget. Our “Nana” was simply the best. She made the day for two eighties babies with a $50 bill to spend on fireworks on the fourth of July. We may as well have won the lottery. She was famous during shopping trips for asking if there was something we “couldn’t live without.” To celebrate a birthday, Nana drove a pair of excited 15 year old girls to Charlotte for their first real concert to see NSYNC. To her credit she sat through the entire show in the nosebleed section. She was always fun to be around.
Looking back on the highlights of my childhood sprinkled in there is always time with Nana at her house on the Pond in Williston, South Carolina. This was a magical place for a 9 year old in the nineties. The house was three levels including a basement that was reached by descending some creaky wooden quarter turn stairs. It concealed a laundry chute with countless possibilities of an active imagination. The house had a breakfast room with walls of windows that opened up to reveal Nana’s ever-changing residents of varieties of birds and hummingbirds. She had painted a tree along the walls and ceiling of this corner of the house that was adorned with her ceramic leaves and woodland creatures. Multi-tiered decks and wooden paths through monkey grass weaved around the sunny yellow house. Overhead a stately pergola covered with flowering vines shaded the front of the house and added to the charm. It was truly a fairytale setting. At the edge of the property was the water brimming with lily pads, cattails and our own private secret peninsula that forged a path halfway through the length of the pond. The sprawling yard was the site of epic Easter egg hunts and badminton matches. On a warm afternoon Chelsea could be found lying in the sun enjoying chewing on the magnolia seed pods that littered the ground under the massive tree. When it was time to go to sleep in the single bed under an oil painting of the “Blue Boy” the pond would come alive and the croaking of what had to be hundreds of frogs could be heard echoing outside our window. Gardenias, camellias, hydrangeas, tea olive and giant orange canna lilies could be found among Nana’s collection of tended flowers all throughout the landscape. A wooden arbor with climbing jasmine entwining each trellis flanked a bench overlooking the simple dock and tethered Jon boat. The Oak tree with it’s sturdy outstretched arm was perfect for sitting just high enough to have the best view in the house. Nana had a horizontal bar installed underneath our climbing tree and was the one to teach us to “cut a flip.”
One thing we never went to Nana’s house in anticipation of was the food. I remember many trips to the local Hardee’s for a kid's meal. Cooking was never a priority in her life. She would rather devote her time to her projects and creative outlets. She was content with a hot cup of coffee and the fried shrimp from Captain Ds were her favorite. Nana did know how to use a microwave and proved that by cooking some Spanish moss to kill any little bugs that might interfere with her plans for using it as a decorative trim for crafting.
When I think of my Nana so many of her inherent qualities come to mind. Her tenacious spirit, her warmth non-judgmental and accepting attitude, intelligence, ingenuity, her seemingly effortless strength. I will always remember her kindness, her love of anything chocolate, humor and ability to persevere with stoic grace. She would offer a smile and silly joke to lighten someone else’s mood despite her own struggles and hardship. The pain from illness and loss she quietly bore burdens her no more. She is no longer bound by legs that won’t hold her up and take her where she wants to go. Never again will she have to question a mind that has failed her and that she could no longer trust. Hands that tremble and have lost the dexterity of youth are a thing of the past. She is able to dance in Heaven with her son, be reunited with her loving parents and sister Tappi Ann and has the most beautiful surroundings to paint that earthly eyes could never fully comprehend or behold. She will never run out of glorious scenery for her eternal canvas.