Emily England Clyburn -- librarian, philanthropist and wife of Rep. Jim Clyburn -- dies at age 80

Emily England Clyburn -- librarian, philanthropist and wife of Rep. Jim Clyburn -- dies at age 80
Emily Clyburn is survived by her husband, Rep. Jim Clyburn.
Emily Clyburn is survived by her husband, Rep. Jim Clyburn. (Source: WIS)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Dr. Emily England Clyburn passed away Thursday morning at the age of 80, her family confirmed.

Emily Clyburn was known for many things -- including her longtime career as a librarian and her philanthropy, especially to her alma mater and the Girl Scouts.

Born in Berkeley County near Moncks Corner, Emily Clyburn came from a rural area and made a name from herself.

That started during her time at South Carolina State University and continued when she got her masters in Librarianship from Atlanta University and the University of South Carolina.

She was married to U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) for 58 years.

The couple met when they were in college at South Carolina State University. They were both active in the Civil Rights Movement. It was when they were arrested during campus activism in the 1960s that they met in jail.

Emily Clyburn was a librarian at public schools in Columbia and Charleston before she moved to a career as a medical librarian, working at Charleston Naval Base and the Dorn VA.

Both husband and wife were dedicated to their alma mater, donating money to re-establish SCSU’s Honors College and giving $1.7 million to create the Dr. Emily England Clyburn Honors College Scholarship Endowment.

Throughout her life, she fought for civil rights and the education of everyone. She was a lifetime member of the NAACP and active at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston.

Emily Clyburn was also a member of the SCSU National Alumni Association and Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Association.

Those efforts led to many recognitions and honors including:

  • A feature in the documentary “Notable African-American Women: In Their Own Voices”
  • Woman of Faith Award given by the Columbia Chapter of the National Council of Negro Women
  • Distinguished Service Award by several chapters of the SCSU National Alumni Association
  • Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands
  • Dr. Emily England Clyburn Pedestrian Bridge on SCSU campus

Emily Clyburn leaves behind her husband, their three daughters, and four grandchildren.

Family will host a celebration of life at Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. Her funeral will be the following day at 11 a.m. at Morris Brown AMEC in Charleston.

She will be laid to rest at Crescent Hill Memorial.

Family members request that in lieu of flowers, people contribute to the Emily England Clyburn Honors College Endowment at SCSU and/or the Emily E. Clyburn Huddle Room at the Cathy Novinger Girl Scout Leadership Center in Columbia.

The House Major Leader has canceled votes on Monday, Sept. 23 so members can attend Emily Clyburn’s funeral.

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