Robert Cleveland, Sr.

Obituary of Robert Carl Cleveland, Sr.

Mr. Robert Carl Cleveland, Sr., widower of Myrtle Touchberry Cleveland, died Thursday, March 28, 2019. 


Born June 8, 1922, in a two bedroom farm house in Elbert County Georgia, he was the third of four children of the late Robert Coy and Bessie Gingles Cleveland.  He was predeceased by his sister, Nellie Cleveland Richardson, and his brothers, John Wilbur Cleveland and James Clayton Cleveland.  He grew up on a farm just outside of Elberton.  He attended the Savannah School through the seventh grade and subsequently graduated from Rock Branch High School in 1939.


In April ,1940, he joined the 214th Anti Aircraft Artillery Battalion of the Army National Guard in Elberton, Georgia.  His unit was mobilized in November, 1940, and he was stationed at Camp Stewart, Georgia.  In May, 1942, he was sent to an Army munitions camp near Valero, California, and embarked upon the ship Mount Vernon from San Francisco in September, 1942, sailing on to New Zealand.  He served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II on the Islands of New Caledonia, New Guinea, Guadalcanal, and the Philippines.  He served on Guadalcanal for 13 months.  He was honorably discharged in May, 1945, with the rank of First Sergeant after having been promoted through the ranks from Buck Private.  At the time of his discharge, he was serving in the Headquarters Battery 950th Anti Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. 


He completed his studies for his BBA degree from the University of Georgia in December, 1948, and went to work for the FDIC, Richmond, Virginia District in January, 1949.  He joined the SC State Board of Financial Institutions in 1953.  In August, 1965, he was appointed to Commissioner of Banking of South Carolina, a position he held for 26 years until his retirement in 1991.  While with the FDIC, he received the pre-standard, standard, and graduate certificates of banking from the American Institute of Banking, Washington, D.C.  He was a graduate of the Banking School at the University of North Carolina, the Banking School of the South at Louisiana State University, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors School for Senior Bank Examiners.  He received the Order of the Palmetto from Governor Carroll A. Campbell, Jr., on May 10, 1991.


Mr. Cleveland served actively in his church, Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church, for many years.  He was a member of the Marshall Sunday School Class, the Men’s Club, and served on many church committees in leadership roles.  He received the Men’s Club Man of the Year Award in 2010. 


In addition to his Christian Service, Mr. Cleveland was devoted to his wife, Myrt, and his children.  He taught his children the importance of hard work and honesty through his good example.  He loved the outdoors, working in his yard and on the family farm.  From the time he was a youngster, he enjoyed hunting small game and continued to be a pretty good shot in his later years.  He enjoyed his neighbors.  He desired only to be remembered as a good person.


Mr. Cleveland is survived by his son, Robert Carl “Chuck” Cleveland, Jr. and daughter–in-law Joyce Whetstone Cleveland of Orangeburg; his son, Roger Coy Cleveland of Charlotte; his daughter, Esther Kay Cleveland of Clinton; and many nieces and nephews whom he loved and visited frequently. 


A graveside service will be held at 11:00 am in Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery in Sumter on Thursday followed by a Memorial Service at 3:00 pm in the sanctuary of Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church in Columbia.  The Reverend Cynthia C. Taylor will be officiating. 


The family will receive friends following the memorial service in the fellowship hall of the church. 


In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Asbury Church Foundation, 1005 Asbury Drive, Columbia, SC 29209 or to Epworth Children’s Home, P. O. Box 50466, Columbia, SC 29250.


Online condolences may be sent to

Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home & Crematory, 221 Broad Street, Sumter, is in charge of the arrangements (803) 775-9386.