YORK COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) –A community celebrating the life and legacy of Anne Springs Close. Many know about the Springs family’s deep roots in the Tri-County — some of that history dating back to the early 1800’s.
Anywhere throughout the tri-county you can’t miss seeing the name Springs and the life of Anne Springs Close reads like a history novel. To begin her story you have to begin with her great grandfather Samuel Springs White – founder of the Fort Mill manufacturing Company in 1887. After serving in the first World War her father Colonel Elliot White Springs – returned to Fort Mill to take over the family company — becoming a textile tycoon who owned seven cotton mills in four towns.
Former Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk saying, “Well again it was a textile community so you had to textile villages, you had obviously most of the folks in town worked either at the mill or they were working at a service industry that supply things, goods and services, to the people that worked at the mill.”
Anne Springs Close was born on November 15, 1925. Over the course of her life, Close traveled to more than 60 countries, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro three times, was a 1996 Olympic torch runner and she was the last living person to have flown across the Atlantic aboard the German airship the Hindenburg — a trip she made at 10 years-old. A lover of the outdoors – her legacy lives on through contributions like the 21-hundred acre Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill.
“She was a tremendous Fort Millian, and absolutely tremendous South Carolinian and it’s a terrible loss for everybody. She was very philanthropic and you know you take a look at many of the things that she did, obviously the Greenway, and some of the other moves that she made as far as being a conservationist, and that sort of thing so she was extremely important person and one of the foremost citizens of the Town of Fort Mill, her entire life,” says Funderburk.
Leaders at the Fort Mill History Museum say they’re every day to keep the Springs family history alive. After 95 years of rich life experiences, leaders saying that her legacy will live on three philanthropic works.
York County Democratic Party Chair John Kraljevich says, “She’s in a lot of work internationally of course as well, she was a big supporter of communities in Haiti and things like that, building schools and she was a national advocate for conservation, but locally she would show up places. She would show up to our meetings, and to our fundraisers.”
Close was a proud proponent of progress. and a defender of the vulnerable. Using her platform and wealth for change.
“At age 94 she showed up to a Black Lives Matter march after the killing of George Floyd — not just because she thought it was important, but she knew her presence as a older, white, wealthy, as privileged, as a famous descendent of famous confederates, she knew it was vital to put her name on the line with a unit that champions equality for everybody,” says Kraljevich.
Survived by her eight children, 28 grandchildren and 24 and a half great-grandchildren, leaders say Close’s legacy will live on for many generations to come and has changed the landscape and future of the area.
“She was very philanthropic, her family very philanthropic people, they continue to look for ways to give back to the community and it’s always appreciated,” says Funderburk.
In the video above, CN2’s Rachel Richardson is speaking with community leaders about Close’s legacy.