Henry Edward Ingram, Jr, 80, of Corpus Christi, Texas passed away Monday, June 24, 2019. He was born 2nd of Dec 1938 to Henry, Sr and Muriel Astor Garvin.
As a young child, Henry lived in Savannah and enjoyed going to the beach at Tybee Island. He graduated high school in Ridgeland and was known for his “Ingram balance” on the football field as a halfback for the Ridgeland Tigers. He spent time in his early years with his grandfather who was the ticket master for the railroad station in Ridgeland. Early-on during the time his granddad ran the train station, it was not known as Ridgeland. It was known as Gopher Hill. Few people were getting off the train at the station due to the name, so the railroad guys changed the name to Ridgeland. That name stuck. Ridgeland was later incorporated as a Town.
Henry attended Clemson University and was an official mascot for Clemson in the late 1950’s. At the time of his death, one of the only other mascots who could make that claim was Billy McCown- who wore the costume after Henry. Henry outlived another fellow 1950’s mascot, Roy Southerlin, by just 32 days. Efforts were recently made to reach out to others who wore the mascot costumes from this era, but Clemson kept very little records of mascots early-on and, according to Roy Southerlin, who served just prior to Henry, no one is sure exactly when The Tiger began appearing at Clemson athletic events. Henry was very proud of his family’s tradition at Clemson. His Mom’s brother, Uncle Barney Garvin, attended Clemson in 1925 and 26.
His father’s three brothers, Claude, Arthur, and Arch Ingram all attended Clemson and graduated on the same day in 1942. All three brothers joined the US military shortly thereafter. Henry’s Father, along with his father’s adopted sister, Minnie, also joined the military during World War II. Their mom had 5 stars- representing the five children in her front porch window on Green Street in Ridgeland during the war. After the war, Henry’s father and his three brothers pioneered the bowling industry on the east coast. Henry’s father owned the bowling alley on Victory Drive in Savannah, and Henry worked in the bowling alley setting-up the bowling pins. The family moved to Ridgeland when Henry was very young.
He married Zenie Malphrus and they moved to Aiken, then Wilmington, NC and then back to this area- Great Swamp. They lived in Central Grahamville before moving to Columbia. In 1969, they moved back to Grahamville- this time to North Grahamville and settled on the pecan farm that would be known as home to their four children. While driving through Branchville during the Railroad Festival with Zenie in 1969, Henry came-up with the idea for a festival in Ridgeland named for the local gopher tortoise. Zenie took that idea and ran with it.
In 1975 Henry departed the mainland and moved to Hilton Head Island, later marrying Linda Howard McGeary. It’s hard to separate Henry from his time on Hilton Head.
Outsiders may know Henry for his bird feeder or other antics that seemed to land him in the newspaper from time to time. A favorite quote of Henry’s is,“Whatever they put in writing is theirs; what they didn’t think about is mine.” Despite what outsiders may have perceived, Henry was never overly concerned with making money. He got his trill from making deals- not money. And when he missed-out on a deal, he would say, “the last good deal hasn’t been made yet” and he would get back to work.When he made money, he would spend it. He would say, “don’t worry, we can always make some more.”
His close friends and family knew him for his efforts to help establish The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Hilton Head. He and Linda worked for for Sea Pines and were friends with Charles Frazier. Henry got Charles to write a letter granting permission for the full-time missionaries from the church to go door to door in Sea Pines inviting the residence to church. His family has that letter locked-away. When the first meeting of the church was held, Charles and his wife attended. Those first meetings were held at the Sea Pines welcome center. Later, meetings were held at the Hilton Head Inn on South Forest Beach, Henry’s skating rink on Palmetto Bay Road, Henry’s house in Sea Pines and Hilton Head High School. In the early 1980’s, Henry talked to a friend from Columbia who donated property for the church to meet on Leg-O-Mutton Rd. They met there in two fix-up trailers until a formal Church building was completed on Meeting Street.
Anyone who attended the church on Hilton Head during the 1970’s or 80’s knows how devoted he was to helping establish the church on the Island.He struggled at times to keep 100 percent of the commandments, but each time he tried to repent and return to full fellowship in the Church. He had faith in the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, and at times, he was fanatical about trying to help others come unto Christ.
Two of his sons served full-time missions, due in large part to his example. Five of his children were married or as it is called it in the church “sealed for time and eternity” in the Temple.
In 2001 Henry decided southern South Carolina was too far north for him and he headed to south Texas. He was soon appointed to be a municipal judge. He was advised by a close family member to lay low and that after a few months they could get a reality TV show with him ruling on cases. It wasn’t meant to be; Henry was not the type to lay low- even if it meant a TV show was on the line.
Despite set-backs here and there, Henry was known for being an eternal optimist. He looked for and believed in miracles.
One of Henry’s final requests was that anyone wishing to make donations should make them to the South Carolina Gamecock Athletic Department. He has always longed to see the Gamecocks become competitive.
A graveside funeral service will be held on Saturday June 29, 2019 at !0:00 am in Ridgeland Cemetery on Ingram St. Ridgeland SC