COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dr. Emily England Clyburn, the wife of South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn and a librarian and philanthropist, has passed away. She was 80 years old.
The congressman's office confirmed the news that she had died Thursday morning in a media statement. The couple had been married for 58 years.
Emily Clyburn was born in Berkeley County near Moncks Corner. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Library Science from South Carolina State College (SCSU) in 1961. She furthered her studies at Atlanta University and the University of South Carolina, where in 1977 she received a Master in Librarianship. SCSU awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at its 2010 Spring Commencement. 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.
The two men while they were jailed during the Civil Rights Movement when James Clyburn was incarcerated for campus activism at South Carolina State.
Emily Clyburn was a member of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston, a life member of the NAACP, a life member of the SCSU National Alumni Association and an active, highly-regarded member of the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Association.
There was an outpouring of sympathy from state leaders to the news of her death.
"I ask that South Carolinians keep Jim Clyburn and the Clyburn family in their hearts and lift them up through prayer today," said Gov. Henry McMaster. "Peggy and I are saddened by the passing of Ms. Emily, but are heartened that she has left a legacy of love, joy, and strength with the Clyburn family."
“I am deeply saddened to have learned of the passing of Emily England Clyburn. 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," said Sen. Lindsey Graham. "“My prayers go out to her husband of fifty-eight years, Congressman Jim Clyburn, and the entire Clyburn family who have suffered a mighty blow. “I hope there is comfort in knowing that people throughout South Carolina and the United States share in your grief and greatly admire the many contributions made by Mrs. Clyburn. It was a great and well-lived life that should be an example to all.”
"My wife Roxanne and I extend our deepest sympathies to Congressman Jim Clyburn, and his entire family during this painful time," said Congressman Joe Wilson in a tweet. "Dr. Emily England Clyburn was a remarkable woman, wife, mother, and grandmother, this is a tremendous loss."
She is survived by her husband, Jim; three daughters: Mignon L. Clyburn, Jennifer Clyburn Reed (Walter) and Angela Clyburn Hannibal; four grandchildren: Walter A Clyburn Reed, Sydney Alexis Reed, Layla Joann Clyburn Hannibal, and Carter James Clyburn Hannibal. She leaves to mourn her loss a host of family members and friends.
A celebration of her life and legacy will be held at Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia at 5:00 pm on Sunday, September 22. Her Homegoing Services will be at Morris Brown AMEC in Charleston, SC at 11:00 am on Monday, September 23. Her internment at Crescent Hill Memorial will be followed by a repast at Trinity Baptist Church 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, SC.