The older generations that built Fort Mill into what is has become lost another member over the holiday weekend when Andrew Bailey "A.B." Dabney died July 4.
By 82, Dabney had led a full life. He graduated from Newberry College in 1951 after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, then joined Springs Mills (now Springs Global) as an industrial engineer. Within four years he'd been promoted to Chief Industrial Engineer for Springs, and eventually retired in 1983. He was also a Boy Scout leader for more than 30 years, earning the Silver Beaver Award, and Dabney was an active volunteer with the American Red Cross Bloodmobile and the Fort Mill Care Center until 2004, when Alzheimer's disease made it impossible for him to continue.
Dabney was also a ham radio operator and a member of the Civil Air Patrol in the 1960s. He served on the Textile Committee at York Technical College and was a member of the Fort Mill Community Playhouse. He also held several leadership positions at First Baptist Church of Fort Mill during the more than 50 years he was a member.
By all accounts he was one of the nicest people anyone could hope to meet in Fort Mill or anywhere else.
"He was always smiling, always cheerful," Verra Reid said. "He had a good attitude and was always nice to the people who came in [to the Care Center]."
Reid's family lived on Close Street near Dabney's family in the 1960s and 70s, the families raised their children together.
"He was an outstanding citizen," Verra's husband Bob Reid said. "Even after he got sick, anytime you asked him how he was feeling he always answered 'Outstanding!'"
"He was just an easygoing guy," longtime friend Jack Nalley said. "He had a sly wit about him, you never knew when he was going to come out with something."
The Dabneys and Nalleys spent a lot of time together, including trips out of town. However once the grandchildren started showing up, they didn't get to spend as much time together. Still even as his condition deteriorated, and Dabney could no longer walk much, Nalley got to see his friend at church each week. Dabney always had a smile on and said he felt "Outstanding."
"I'll sure miss him," Nalley said. "I knew him well, but it's kind of hard for me to express."
Among his survivors is his bride of 52 years, Mary Kathryn "Kay" Mungo Dabney. Friends and family gathered to lay Dabney to rest Saturday.