Katherine Watson Wolfe
Katherine Wolfe, an upcountry farm girl who moved to Columbia and enjoyed a successful career working in and for state government, died on Monday, April 8, at the age of 99.
Katherine Louise Watson was born in Anderson County on December 4, 1919, the first-born and last surviving child of Thurman and Ruth Gentry Watson. Between her mother’s and father’s families, she had 17 aunts and uncles and a constellation of cousins, most of whom lived in the farm country around Easley; she was not lonely, nor did she spend much time indoors. She graduated from Easley High School, where she was a Hall of Fame basketball player and an indifferent student.
In 1949 she moved to Columbia and took a job on the desk of the South Carolina House of Representatives, where she worked with two men who would significantly influence her career: Fritz Hollings and Bob McNair. She went on to work for each man as he served as lieutenant governor and governor of South Carolina; Bob McNair became her life-long friend and confidant. As Governor McNair’s administrative assistant, she developed a working relationship with almost every aspect and agency of state government. In 1980, she put that knowledge and experience to use as head of the company that implemented and administered the newly-created deferred compensation program for state employees, a position she retained until she retired in 2000. In retirement, she found great satisfaction in working on the information desk of Baptist Hospital and great frustration in having to follow HIPPA regulations.
She married twice, first to John Harrison and later to Pat Wolfe, and had one son by each: Philip Wolfe, who died in 1980, and Doak Wolfe. In addition to her older son, she was predeceased by her brothers, Curt Watson of Easley and Charles Watson of Orange Park, Florida, and her sister, Nell Watson Stewart of Greenville. She is survived by Doak Wolfe (Gordon Smith) of Columbia, two grandchildren: Brooke Smith of Los Angeles and Hillarie Collins of Lexington, and three great-grandchildren. Her last years were made immensely easier by many people, especially Gale Bostick and the staffs of Atria Senior Living, Wellmore of Lexington, and All Seasons Hospice, but mostly, and immeasurably, by Wilhelmina Griffin.
She was a member of the (Episcopal) Church of the Good Shepherd in Columbia and a great supporter of Harvest Hope Food Bank. Memorials may be made to either.
The funeral service will be held on Monday, April 15, at 11:00 a.m., at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 1100 Sumter Street, in Columbia.