Lila Catherine Atkinson Brakefield, 101 died peacefully at home on Thursday, January 14, 2021 surrounded by her family. She will be dearly missed by all that knew her. Catherine was born on February 24, 1919 the third of seven children of James Biggers and Effie Azilee Atkinson in the Armenia Community of Chester County, SC. Being from a Christian, farming family, hard work, love of family & services to the Lord was how they were raised. The ultimate "worker bee" best sums up Catherine's persona. "Waste not want not" is how this woman of the Depression lived each day. She married William "Bill" Simpson Brakefield on September 7, 1937 in York, SC, and they built a long and happy life together. Not long after marriage, they moved to the northeast settling down in South New Jersey where Bill's work took him. West Cape May was their first home, then settled in on the island of Wildwood Crest. In the early 50's Catherine drove the famous Tram Cars on the Wildwood Boardwalk. Primarily though "Kitty" saw herself as a homemaker and devoted her time and effort to raising her children, as an active member of her community, PTA mom, church member, loving and supporting her husband & children. As a member of the Order of the Eastern Star she founded a group that included and encouraged young women. She loved the life she and Bill made in their adopted South Jersey. Upon retirement they returned to Lowrys, SC in 1977, and enjoyed her time reuniting with their family and friends. As a lifelong member of Armenia United Methodist Church, she took on many roles including Sunday School Teacher, choir member and Young Adult leader. She loved the church where she was baptized and where she helped shape many lives (at the time of her passing she was the oldest living member at 101 years). She also served on the board of the Chester County Hospital. In 1998 she relocated to Murrells Inlet to live with her son and daughter-in-law. She was a tremendous help to her grandchildren and continued to do what she knew best; caring for those she loved! Catherine remained there for 22 years as a grandmother, mother, friend, and inspiration to many until her death. Catherine is survived by one sister, Nell Atkinson Shulte Lynch, her two remaining children, Lila Carolyn Montanaro (Al) and Stephen Carter Brakefield (Jean Ann), as well as her daughter-in-law Barbara Brakefield, and her son-in-law Butch Schmidt. She was predeceased by her husband, William Simpson Brakefield ('83), her children, William Atkinson Brakefield ('04) and Elizabeth Ann Schmidt ('20), and grandson, Gary Frederick Schmidt ('19). During her fulfilled life she was blessed with nine grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild who affectionately knew her as "Mom-Mom." As "Aunt Kitty" she leaves behind many nieces and nephews whom she dearly loved. She was truly blessed by a large and loving family. A graveside service will be held at Armenia United Methodist Church in Chester, SC on Saturday, January 23rd at 2pm.Memorials may be made to Armenia United Methodist Church, 2840 Armenia Road, Chester, SC 29706. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.barronfuneralhome.com
Published by Post and Courier - Myrtle Beach on Jan. 19, 2021.