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Georgetown County woman named South Carolina Mother of the Year

January 14, 2005

Maggie Lee Deas of Plantersville has been named 2005 South Carolina Mother of the Year, an annual honor bestowed by the State of South Carolina on an individual who exemplifies the highest qualities of motherhood. The announcement was made today at Coastal Carolina University by Gwen Howell, chair of the Mother of the Year Search Committee.

Deas, 77, raised nine children while working as a housekeeper in the Grand Strand area. All of her children have achieved successful careers in a variety of fields and positions of responsibility in their respective communities. Deas is also known for her many years of selfless service on behalf of her community and church.

Maggie Deas is an extraordinary woman, said Charles Joyner, director of Coastal Carolina Universitys Waccamaw Center for Cultural and Historical Studies, who nominated her for the award. I had known that at least some of her children had grown up to pursue productive careers, but when I learned the full extent of what they have accomplished I was deeply moved. Measured against the obstacles Maggie has had to face, her achievement is truly remarkable.

Deas children are: Janie Deas of Cordova, a school principal; Lucian Deas of Shawnee, Kansas, a telecommunications program manager; Lt. Col. (U.S. Army) Theopia Deas, with Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; Lucinda Deas of Georgetown, a teacher; Mertis D. Gadson of Georgetown, a registered nurse; Zena D. Young of Plainfield, N.J., a teacher; Margaret D. George of Raleigh, N.C., a research chemist; Sharon D. Boatwright, Ph.D., of Orangeburg, an education curriculum specialist; and John B. Deas of Silver Spring, Md., a contract attorney at the Pentagon.

In explaining her approach to childrearing, Deas says that she always regarded each of her children as different and believed each one should be treated as a unique, valuable, worthy human being. Deas will be honored at a luncheon in Columbia, a recognition ceremony at the Governors Office, and at a tea at the Governors Mansion. As State Mother of the Year, Deas will be nominated for National Mother of the Year, who will be named in April.

The South Carolina Mother of the Year is chosen by a search committee from nominees submitted from all across the state. The honor has been bestowed annually since 1942.