Media Release: With his death yesterday at age 96, we reflect on the remarkable life of former South Carolina Senator John Drummond. Senator Drummond lived a life of exemplary service to our state and to our nation.
A native of Ninety Six, John Drummond was born in 1919 to a family of mill workers, like so many other South Carolina families of that era. Called to serve our country in World War II, he served as a pilot and paratrooper, acquiring the nickname “Ace” due to his flying prowess. His plane, “Raid Hot Mama,” was shot down over France, and he spent 10 months in a prisoner of war camp. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, nine Air Medals, three Battle Stars, a Presidential Citation, and two Purple Hearts for his valor. The Greatest Generation was great because of Americans like John Drummond.
After the war, his ingenuity transferred from the battlefield to the homefront in Greenwood, where he embarked upon entrepreneurial ventures in fields as varied as the doughnut business and the oil business.
While John Drummond had more than earned a peaceful life out of the public eye, he remained called to public service, winning election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1964 and to the South Carolina Senate two years later, where he would represent the Greenwood area continuously until 2008. Widely respected by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, he served in numerous leadership positions, including president pro tempore, majority leader, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and chairman of the State Reorganization Committee. In 2000, he played a key role in brokering the compromise to lower the Confederate battle flag from the State House dome, the vital first step toward removing it from the State House grounds completely.
We extend our deepest condolences to the entire Drummond family and their friends during this time of mourning. We thank them for Senator Drummond’s long life making our state, our country, and the world a better place. As we remember him, we strive to cultivate his selfless servant leadership within ourselves. We need more like him.
Services will be at 3 p.m. on Wednesday at First Baptist Church of Ninety Six with the Rev. Chuck Sprouse and the Rev. Calvin Holland officiating. Burial, with military honors, will be in Elmwood Cemetery.
The family will receive friends at the church on Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Memorials may be made to Hospice House, HospiceCare of the Piedmont, 408 W. Alexander Avenue, Greenwood, SC 29646; Elmwood Cemetery Association, PO Box 15, Ninety Six, SC 29666 or to the John & Holly Drummond Scholarship, c/o Lander University, 320 Stanley Avenue, Greenwood, SC 29646.