Rock Hill woman who tried to help learns dead man’s ‘lasting legacy’

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comNovember 18, 2013 

— What happened to Michael Anthony Jamison at Winthrop University on Sunday has left a lasting impression on Amy McCurry.

The Rock Hill mother of three was driving down Cherry Road at about 9 a.m. when she saw a man slumped in the bushes on Park Avenue outside the Winthrop campus. She turned into the McDonald’s parking lot, swung around and drove back to the college.

As she got out of her car, another man, 25, crossed the street. They were soon joined by a second man.

“We moved him out of the bush area,” she said. “He didn’t have a pulse when we got there.”

Michael Jamison, 51, was pronounced dead after police, witnesses and emergency responders took turns performing CPR on him for more than 30 minutes, according to a Winthrop Police report. The Rock Hill Fire Department and EMS arrived on scene, as did a second woman who tried to help resuscitate Jamison, McCurry said.

They were unsuccessful.

“We did everything we could for him until the police got there,” said McCurry, a therapist at Rock Hill’s Chrysalis Autism Center. “It was a bad situation.”

But for McCurry, it was worse that more people didn’t stop to help.

“He probably would have been helped sooner if we had not become so numb to each other,” McCurry said. “I saw so many people go by. The lack of care and concern about this man ... on the side of the road was unbelievable to me.

“We’ve just gotten so numb as a society to the point we don’t help each other the way we should anymore. We do need to change.”

Winthrop Police were called to the scene after someone complained about a possibly intoxicated man lying unconscious on campus, according to the police report.

“He was not intoxicated,” McCurry said. “We’ve just got to a point in society that we automatically assume the worst things about each other. I was in his face. I helped with the CPR. ... He had not been drinking. It was obviously a medical issue.”

That medical issue, police would learn from his sister Roanna Jamison, was diabetes, the police report says. York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said nothing about Michael Jamison’s death indicated foul play or appeared suspicious.

Michael Jamison has left “a lasting legacy,” McCurry said.

She has learned a lot about him since Sunday, the most memorable of which is that he was a “good Christian man who loved people.”

McCurry has perused his Twitter feed and found herself encouraged by some of his final tweets:

“Gotta start trusting God more.”

“Getting life back is swell.”

“Thanking Jesus for my life.”

“He has affected many lives positively,” McCurry said. “I wish I had known him. Now, looking back at it and just getting a few glimpses of Mr. Jamison’s life, he was an amazing man. I do want his family to know that we did everything we could.”

They know.

“His whole family says ‘thank you’ from the bottom of our hearts,” said Leroy Jamison, his brother.

Sister Ann Knox, hearing about the woman who worked exhaustively to try to save her brother, said she hopes to meet McCurry. “We want to thank her.”

Michael Jamison, “big brother” to five sisters and one brother, always took care of others first, Leroy Jamison said. He worked at Park Pointe Village retirement home off S.C. 5.

“He would do for others instead of taking care of himself,” his brother said.

If someone was stranded, Jamison would get out of bed in the middle of the night to give him a ride. He’d wake up at midnight if someone needed prayer.

“When he didn’t work, he was at church,” Leroy Jamison said.

His faithfulness helped lead Leroy Jamison and his wife, Deborah, to God, she said.

“He never took; he was always a giver,” Deborah Jamison said. “He had a heart for people.”

Roanna and Fernetta Jamison both called their brother a “good-hearted person” who loved God and people.

“He smiled all the time; he cracked jokes,” said another sister, Tonya Jamison. “He never met a stranger. He loved football.”

His favorite team was the Washington Redskins, she said – “his life, almost.”

“He was just a good person ... a loving person,” said another sister, Zandra Neely. “He was a good brother.”

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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