Xanthan Willard Polk, Jr. passed away June 12, 2020 after a long battle with cancer. Willard was born September 16, 1943 on Parris Island, SC, the son of Xanthan Willard Polk, Sr. and Ganelle Ritter Polk. He attended the Citadel for two years and graduated from the University of South Carolina. He has been a member of Grace Episcopal Church since moving to Camden in 1972. He has been married to his wife, Kay (Nutting), for almost 55 years.
After graduation, he served with the Office of the Governor and State Auditor’s Office as an Audit Supervisor and retired from the SC Law Enforcement Division after first serving as Director of Administration and later as a Special Agent specializing in forensic auditing and accounting and insurance fraud investigations. After retiring from SLED in 2006, he continued to work for SLED, reviewing over 500 cases involving the resolution of asset seizures.
Willard served almost 32 years in the SC Army National Guard with service as an Army Corps of Engineer Officer in various command and staff positions and was promoted to the rank of Colonel upon his retirement from the Guard in 1997. He continued in the inactive US Army Reserve until 2003, when he retired from the US Army. His service included operations in Ecuador, Honduras, Alaska, Germany and Italy as well as engineer civic operations throughout South Carolina as well as logistical planning and staffing of units deploying to Desert Storm and the Balkins Campaign. During his service, he served from squad level to brigade level and was the recipient of numerous awards and commendations for meritorious service.
In addition, Willard was always dedicated to community service. He served as Chairman of the Parks and Street Commission from 2003-2010 (during which time he contributed greatly to the revitalization of Camden’s Parks). He was also a member of the Camden Airport Commission, Chairman and Treasurer of the Camden Tree Foundation, Treasurer of Historic Camden Foundation Board of Trustees, Secretary/Treasurer and Chairman of the SC Archives and History Foundation and a member of its Advisory Board and Executive Committee, a founding member and CFO of the Palmetto Chapter of the Army Engineer Association, a life member of the US Army Engineer Regiment, a life member of the SC National Guard Association, Treasurer of the Kershaw County Historic Society, a member of Camden City Council from 2010-2014, Board Member of Santee-Wateree Rural Transportation Authority, an original member of Preserve Camden With Responsible Growth and various other community organizations. He was also the Project Director of an historic interpretative sign project for Historic Camden and the City of Camden consisting of the 35 outdoor signs seen around Camden depicting the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution with emphasis on the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill.
He was a avid reader of history, especially military history, loved traveling and naturalist activities, and was interested in subjects ranging from aviation to motor sports to genealogy.
He is survived by his wife, a sister, Sarah Elizabeth Paul, numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins and his stepfather.
A private service will be held. Memorials may be made to Grace Episcopal Church, 1315 Lyttleton Street, Camden, SC 29020 or MD Anderson Cancer Center, PO Box 4464, Houston, TX 77210-4464.