CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Dr. Emily England Clyburn, the wife of House Majority Whip and South Carolina sixth district representative Jim Clyburn, passed away Thursday morning at the age of 80.
She was born in Whitesville in Berkeley County and was preceded in death by her parents, Peter and Mattie England, as well as siblings Arthur England and Mattie Mae England Wadley.
She graduated from Berkeley Training High School in Moncks Corner and later earned a bachelor’s in library science from South Carolina State in 1961. In 1977, she received a Masters in Librarianship from the University of South Carolina.
Her husband, Jim, was also a member of the SCSU class of 1961. The pair were married for 58 years after they met in jail when he was incarcerated for campus activism.
Jim Clyburn represents the South Carolina sixth district in the House, which includes most of North Charleston. He was elected to the seat in 1992 and has held it ever since.
Charleston Rep. Wendell Gilliard issued a statement saying he was saddened to learn of Clyburn’s passing.
“A strong and devoted woman, ‘Ms. Emily’ stood with her husband through good times and bad and helped many South Carolina students pursue their interests through education, hard work, and determination,” Gilliard said. “May we all strive to remember her and honor her by doing the same for others.”
“I am deeply saddened to have learned of the passing of Emily England Clyburn," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “She was one of the most kind and dynamic people I had ever met and lived a consequential life changing South Carolina and the United States for the better.”
“Ms. Emily” was a member of the Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston and a life member of the NAACP. She was a public-school librarian in Columbia and Charleston before spending 29 years as a medical librarian at the Charleston Naval Base and Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia.
Funeral services will be held next Monday at Morris Brown AME at 11 a.m. She will then be buried at Crescent Hill Memorial in Columbia.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Emily England Clyburn Honors College Endowment at South Carolina State University and the Emily E. Clyburn Huddle Room at the Cathy Novinger Girl Scout Leadership Center in Columbia.