The kindest, most faithful woman on the planet has been called home by our Lord. June Licata was born on July 15, 1931, and died December 30, 2020 at the age of 89.
June grew up in Brooklyn, New York and graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1949. She moved to Columbia, South Carolina (SC) in 1958 and worked as an Executive Assistant in the SC Senate from 1966 to 1976. She later went to work at SC ETV where she was the Vice President of Regional Stations and Community Relations, and retired in 1992. During her long tenure at SC ETV, she was the Producer of a magazine show called Profile and a weekly series called Legislative Profile.
June enjoyed all of her work at SC ETV, but she would say her greatest joy came from her work as an advocate for the disabled and their families, whom she served for over 50 years. She served in leadership roles for many local, state, and national organizations, including the National Association for Developmental Disabilities Councils, SC Developmental Disabilities Council, Task Force on Independent Living for the Handicapped, the Governor’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, the SC Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Governor’s liaison to the National Organization on Disabilities, the SC Literacy Association, the Columbia College Midlands Corporate Campaign, and the University Affiliated Program for the Developmentally Disabled of the University of South Carolina.
June received numerous awards and honors for her work and service, including the 1991 National Victory Award for Exemplifying Exceptional Strength and Courage in the Face of Adversity, the 1992 Jefferson Award for Outstanding Leadership in State Service, and the 1992 Who’s Who Worldwide Platinum Award for Leadership and Professional Achievement.
The SC General Assembly issued a resolution to commend and thank June for her service stating that they “for many years deeply appreciated June Licata’s ready smile, her intelligence and command of the facts in every situation, her kind and generous nature, and her abiding professionalism” and that “she has served the State of South Carolina exceptionally well and is one of the most capable public servants ever to be recognized and honored by the General Assembly upon retirement.”
The Order of the Palmetto, considered to be the highest civilian honor in the State of SC, recognizes a person’s lifetime achievement and contributions to the state. June was awarded the Order of the Palmetto in 1996 by Governor David Beasley.
Despite all of her awards and accomplishments over the years, June was most satisfied by the time she spent with her church, Spring Valley Presbyterian, where she was a member of the steering committee, a founding member in 1977, and one of its first deacons.
On a more personal note, June loved beautiful things, soft things and almost all things purple. She had great love affairs with Janice DiMaria’s crab cakes, Jeff Greenlaw’s fudge, Sharon Licata’s brownies, Martini and Rossi’s Asti Spumante, her Lincoln Continentals, and the never-ending additions to the solar light collection in her yard. She appreciated watching God paint the sky every night over the lake outside her windows, her family and friends were precious to her, and she enjoyed anytime she could get at the beach!
There is not enough space in this entire paper to list all the people she inspired or in turn, inspired her. Her work here is done. She has moved on to a place where she will reunite with family and friends that have gone on before her, where she can shop without a budget and eat without gaining weight. Sadly, Olive Garden has lost a loyal customer.
June was predeceased by her oldest son, Bobby, who we know greeted her with open arms in Heaven. She is survived by her beloved husband, Bob, to whom she was married for nearly 71 years, her loving son, Steve (wife Sharon), grandchildren she adored — Andrea Cowart (husband Burke), Rob Licata, Catherine Austin (husband Paul), Stephanie Miller (husband Chris), and Jenny Licata as well as five great-grandchildren — Loranna, Maleena Kyle, Connor, and Ashlyn. June also leaves behind her baby Brother, Rick (wife Louise), nephew Adam Barham, niece June Greenlaw (aka Little June – husband Jeff), and their children, Chalon, Emily June, Jeffrey, Jacob, Joshua (and Jared whom she joins in Heaven).
Due to the restrictions placed on gatherings at churches during COVID 19, the family will hold a small service to inter her ashes, but they plan to have a FABULOUS celebration of life for June as soon as it is safe to do so. She will be greatly missed by all of her family and friends, as well as her beloved puppies, Buttons and Beau.
The family welcomes donations to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America as an expression of sympathy instead of flowers. Donations can be made at www.mymsaa.org.