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Catherine Corley Desportes



Catherine Corley Desportes



Catherine Amelia Corley Desportes, 99, of Columbia, passed away on Saturday February 26, 2022, at the Heritage at Lowman in White Rock. 

Born in Abbeville, Cat was predeceased by her husband, Aubrey Desportes, Sr., her parents, Elbert Sperry Corley, Sr., and Lillian Clarke Corley, her infant brother, Elbert Sperry Corley, Jr., her brother, George Roderick Corley, Sr., and her sister-in-law, Alice Poole Corley.

Having no children of her own, Cat was a second mother to her nephews, Rod (Betty), Gary (Teresa), and David (Susan) Corley, and an additional grandparent to her great, great-great, and great-great-great nephews and nieces, especially her great-great nephew Landon, who was “her heart” in her later years.

Having graduated from Hartsville High School, Cat answered the call encouraging patriotic women to join the clerical corps in support of the Second World War effort. She boarded a bus and traveled alone to Washington, DC, where she found lodging in a boarding house and work at the Secret Service. Returning home to take care of ailing parents, Cat began a life-long career with the RL Bryan Company in Columbia, serving as executive secretary to multiple presidents of the business. 

A faithful member of Sherwood Forest ARP and later an active member of Rose Hill Presbyterian, Cat served in many capacities including deacon, circle leader, and tireless volunteer. In retirement, she volunteered at the SC Governor’s Mansion, later working in the mansion gift shop. She used her skills in sewing, knitting, and other needlework to make new drapes for the mansion, to support soldiers in the Gulf Wars with knitted caps and to crochet blankets for each new birth among her family and friends.

Beloved by all who knew her, Cat lived her faith actively, putting others before herself, never complaining or finding fault or seeking her own will. Her positive demeanor in difficult circumstances will remain an example to those who knew her.

A celebration of Cat’s life will be held at 3:00 PM on Saturday March 5, 2022, in the chapel of Kennedy Mortuary in Laurens. The family will receive friends immediately following the service. 

Memorials may be made to The Gideons International, Blythewood Camp PO Box 1025 Blythewood, SC 29016.

Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.thekennedymortuary.com. 



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Catherine was a wonderful friend and helper to my late father, Robert S. Davis, He was president of R.L. Bryan Co for many years. She was truly loved by my family. So thankful for her long and happy life.

Barbara Davis McCormick Mar 5 2022 9:19 AM

To Rod, David , Gary & your families: Your aunt Cat had a long, eventful & inspirational life. Losing is sad, but you were fortunate for so long & so was she to have all of you.

Lew West Mar 4 2022 9:16 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Catherine Desportes

Paul Torres Mar 4 2022 1:02 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Catherine Desportes

Kathy Turner Mar 1 2022 10:13 AM

Catherine was a lovely person, inside and out. She lived out her faith in visible ways and was an inspiration to anyone blessed to know her and call her a friend. She is Home now.

Ginger Swanson Mar 1 2022 9:31 AM

Catherine was such a lovely lady. She was a wonderful addition in the gift shop at Governors Mansion. It was a pleasure working with her and having her for a friend.

Mary Ross Mar 1 2022 8:22 AM