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Lexington Two tells of sentimental items recovered from George I. Pair

The Pair family in West Columbia was reunited with their grandfather's family portrait last week.

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — The demolition of George I. Pair Elementary School continues, and there's a process Lexington School District Two is going through to find a safe place for the sentimental items from the school. 

Throughout the last 70 years, this school building has served several purposes for elementary and adult education, with items moved in and out. 

Early last year, district administrators and department teams started collecting sentimental items from George I. Pair in anticipation of the demolition last month. "Among them, an oil painting of the Pair Building and the building's cornerstone, as well as furniture, HVAC units, kitchen equipment," the district said.

Ashleigh Pair Conner, a relative of George I. Pair, tells News 19 an oil painting of her grandfather, the man whom the school was named after, was left in the demolition.

She says a Good Samaritan found it last week, and passed it off to his mom, who lives near the school to return to the Pair family. 

"It was a gift to my grandmother," said Conner said. 

"She donated it to the renamed elementary school, and that's where it's been since 1964," said David Pair, son of George I. Pair.

Thankfully, the painting is still in good shape. The Pair family revisited the school back in 2011 when the school was changed to an adult education center. 

Kimberly Pair Watson, George Pair's granddaughter, remembers seeing the painting in the school, honoring a man who was very well loved by the community.

"Every day going into the main office, there was that portrait of my grandfather up on the wall, so that was pretty cool to see," Watson said.

"For us, I just think it's a piece of history that we can cherish and now we have it in our home and all of the good memories and good history that I've always heard, Conner said. "I just feel like the painting's home."

Lexington Two tells News 19 they regret if any sentimental item may have inadvertently been left behind. They explain no one is allowed to enter this demolition site at George I. Pair. But if anyone has already located items with historical value, you're asked to contact the district so they can either display or return the items. 

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