Clarence Eugene Harrell, III was born on February 20, 1956, in Columbia, South Carolina to the late Clarence Eugene Harrell Jr. and Julia Dinkins Harrell. He was the fifth of six children born into this union. The earthly phase of his journey came to an end on Sunday, March 14, 2021, surrounded by his adoring family.
As a natural-born leader, Clarence dedicated his life to helping people, especially youth, to become the best versions of themselves. Affectionately known as “Rusty,” Clarence was baptized at Siloam Baptist Church in Hopkins, South Carolina where he served faithfully on the usher board. Rusty was educated in the public schools of Richland County, where he graduated class of 1974 from W.J. Keenan High School. He was a star basketball athlete and earned a scholarship to USC-Aiken, where he graduated with an Associate Degree. While in college he worked at Moore’s Cleaners as a delivery driver and as a sports editor for the prestigious The State Newspaper. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from USC-Columbia.
Shortly after graduation, Rusty married his devoted wife, Gail Gordon Harrell of Columbia, South Carolina, where they wed on September 26, 1981. To this union, their beautiful daughter Ashley Marie Harrell was born. The Harrells faithfully attended New Ebenezer Baptist Church.
A forever educator, Rusty worked for the State of South Carolina as a youth advocate for 28 years. He also worked at John de la Howe, a group home in McCormick, SC, the Babcock Center, and the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) in both Lexington and Richland Counties. While at DJJ, he worked in various capacities. As the Director of Lexington and Richland County DJJ, he was able to implement strategic programs that supported the growth and development of Columbia area youth. One of his crown achievements was the sponsorship of the concession stand for the Double Dutch Forces of Columbia. The concession stands funded travel expenses to and from statewide competitions. He also was an invaluable part of the Bridge Program, among many other programs.
Rusty’s other passion besides working with youth, was his painting and wallpapering company. Rusty’s Painting and Wallpapering was founded at an early age, as he learned from his father and uncles, especially Uncle Herbert, how to enhance interior and exterior spaces. He continued this passion throughout his professional career, often leaving the courthouse in his business suit to beautify someone’s space. He continued painting even during his illness until he was called home.
Rusty was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence Eugene Harrell Jr. and Julia Dinkins Harrell; one brother, Thomas L. Harrell; and two sisters, Sandra Harrell Leysath and Joyce Harrell Reed.
To cherish his everlasting memories are his loving wife of 39 years Gail Gordon Harrell; daughter, Ashley Marie Harrell; two granddaughters, Kymari and Kaidyn Barham; sisters, Evelyn Harrell Moore and Harriet (Frankie) Harrell Roach; mother-in-law, Dorothy M. Gordon; brother-in-law, Floyd (Gloria) Gordon; sister-in-law, Ellen (Freddie) Brandyburg; and a host of nieces, nephews, family, and friends.
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