Caroline Orr James

October 30, 2020


Caroline Orr James of Darlington, South Carolina died on Friday, October 30th following a long illness. A graveside service will be held 11:00 a.m. Friday, November 6th at Grove Hill Cemetery, directed by Belk Funeral Home. Funeral service will be live streamed and an online guestbook is available at

Born at Piedmont Hospital on Capital Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia on February 20, 1928, she was the daughter and youngest child of Joseph Kyle Orr, Jr. and Caroline Moore Orr. Throughout her childhood, she enjoyed a close relationship with her grandfather, Joseph Kyle Orr, Sr., who gave her a quarter for poems she recited from memory, her favorites being If by Rudyard Kipling and Invictus by William Ernest Henley. He encouraged her to write poetry as well and took her to all of Shirley Temple’s movies. During summer months she enjoyed traveling with her family, from Georgia to British Columbia, and always said that Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada was the most beautiful place on Earth. She also spent many summers in upstate New York at Lake Mohonk where she developed a keen curiosity for the natural world.

Caroline Orr attended the North Avenue Presbyterian School, Washington Seminary in Atlanta and St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, Virginia, graduating from Washington Seminary in 1946. To help the war effort in World War II, she and Seminary friends volunteered at hospitals in Atlanta and with children of families in the Armed Forces. She was a member of the 1946 class of the Atlanta Debutante Club and she went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia in 1950. Her favorite subject other than journalism was psychology. While at UGA she was an officer in her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.

In 1950, Caroline Orr married John Jay James of Darlington, SC, the son of her mother’s best friend, Sue Smyth Flinn James. The two friends grew up together in Columbia, SC. Caroline Orr James became a devoted mother, wife, daughter, sister, and loyal friend. She found purpose in service to her church and building a home and garden for her family where she nurtured a large collection of Camellias, and especially her prized favorite, Camellia Ville de Nantes. Mrs. James maintained her passion for the arts throughout her life, especially for visual and performing arts, trips to museums, and theatre. Like her grandfather, she encouraged her children to pursue these endeavors, and in her later years she continued to take classes in studio art, art history, and literature at Francis Marion University and Coker College. She and Mr. James also enjoyed travels to Central and South America, the Caribbean and British Isles, Europe, and Asia.

A beautiful, brilliant and elegant woman, her wit and deep faith held her in good stead. She amused and inspired all who knew her and her many friendships were life-long. She cherished the bonds she found in local book and bridge clubs; in The Florence Garden Club; Over the Teacups Club; and the Old Homestead Club. Having a reverence and interest in our country’s history, she was a member of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of South Carolina and also The Society of Colonial Dames of The Seventeenth Century in America. She served as a trustee of James F. Byrnes Academy and volunteered for the American Cancer Society.

She is survived by her daughters, Caroline James Williamson (Keith S. Williamson) of Hartsville, SC, Susan S. James Mayer (James L. Mayer) of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and Kyle James of Darlington, SC. Also surviving are her four beloved grandchildren: James Williamson, Charles Williamson, Jeffrey Mayer (Rachel Caruso), and Elizabeth Mayer; her great-grandchildren, Robert and Yvonne Mayer; nephews Joseph Kyle Orr, IV, Edwin Eugene Pruett, Jr. and David Lawrence Pruett; and niece, Harriet Van Hooser. She is preceded in death by her husband, John Jay James; brother, Joseph Kyle Orr, III; sister, Frances Bradley Orr Pruett; and nephews, Robert Bell Vance, Jr., Lawrence Cameron Orr, and Donald Moore Pruett.

The family wishes to express the deepest affection and gratitude to Mrs. James’s excellent caregivers: Dr. William Bouleware, Internal Medical Specialist of Florence, SC; Lera Isaacs, Raye Johnson, Mary Ervin, Bessie Muldrow, Tesha Muldrow, Patricia Sawyer, and Barbara Roberson. They provided years of the highest quality care with good humor, love, and kindness.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer Association.


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

An excerpt from If – by Rudyard Kipling     


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Graveside Service
November 6, 2020

11:00 AM
Grove Hill Cemetery
405 S. Warley
Darlington, SC 29532

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