Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A 108-year-old Midlands woman who was known for her decades of service to her community has passed away.

Mrs. Donella Brown Wilson died Friday afternoon surrounded by family and close friends.

She'd been a pillar of the Midlands community for decades. Just last year, Governor Henry McMaster awarded her the Order of the Palmetto .

During her life, she was a champion for civil rights. She also had a long career as a teacher, getting her certificate in 1933 and working in a classroom until her retirement in 1971.

Wilson was born in 1909 in Fort Motte in Calhoun County. She grew up to become an educator, and settled in Columbia's Waverly neighborhood, where she became an expert on the community's history.

She wasn't able to vote until 1948, but her daughter, Minnie Wilson-Bivins, said Wilson didn't miss another election. Wilson was always said to be one of the first African-Americans to vote in the state.

She was a life member of the NAACP, and was the oldest living graduate of Allen University.