The Charleston community recently lost two of its most beloved members. Though their names may not have been among those considered household names, the love and respect they engendered surpasses such popularity. Former Charleston County School Board member Carolyn Polite-Chisolm died Feb. 28. Richard “Mr. Lee” H. Green died March 6.
Polite-Chisolm served on Charleston County School Board from 1989-1994 and again from 1996-1998. She was the board’s vice chair one year from 1993-1994.
During her tenure Charleston County School District the district began its transition to become South Carolina’s school district with more charter schools than any other and developed one of the nation’s most acclaimed high schools, Academic Magnet High School. She served while CCSD embarked on its way to becoming one of the state’s most academically diverse school districts through a proliferation of magnet and charter schools.
Polite-Chisolm, whose residential roots were in North Charleston. A member of Burke High School class of 1960, she was employed by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. Friends describe her as sweet, kind and classy, but to this reporter she was a feisty, savvy practical conservative who made decisions based on unbiased information rather than popular consensus.
She devoutly adhered to her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness and leaves to cherish her memory her children Darlene Jenkins, Robert Jenkins, Erick Jenkins, Ramona Jenkins-West and Bridgette Jenkins in addition to 12 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
Richard H. Green better known to most as “Mr. Lee” the barber, continued a long career in barbering at the corner of Spring and St. Philip streets in downtown Charleston some 50 years. He ended a more than 60-year career at his shop on Ashley Avenue some five years ago. A soft-spoken kindly gentleman his trademarks were his felt hat and the peppermint candies he handed out to everyone he encountered. Mr. Lee’s most endearing quality perhaps was his willingness to offer sage advice in a kind and helpful manner to those needing it.
Mr. Lee never drove cars and walked the breadth of the peninsula happily content to meet people and joy living. He loved to walk, said his daughter Susan who followed him into the profession. He was 85.
Mr. Lee leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 65 years, Laura Bell Hollings Green, his children: Henrietta Spain, Richard Green Jr., Susan Coley, Alvin Green, Doris Green, Lori Wittrell, Gerald Green, Allen Holmes and Kevin Green. His daughter Linda Green preceded him in death.