Catherine Josephine Atkinson of Longs passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at home in the loving company of her family. She was born on Oct. 29, 1925, in the town of Fork (Dillon County), S.C. on the kitchen table where she was known to everyone as the ninth child of 14 born to Dick Cleveland ‘D.C.’ Atkinson and Sarah Fleetwood ‘Fleety’ Carmichael.
She became Josephine Livingston on April 10, 1943, when she married Joseph ‘J.B.’ Benjamin Livingston. Jo and J.B. had four children together, Linda (Frankie) Vereen, Gail (Tommy) Griffin, Tommy Livingston and Deborah (Lee) Dreyfous. They were happily married for 25 years until J.B.’s passing in 1968 at the age of 48. She married Howard ‘Bubba’ Grainger in 1971 and became Josephine Grainger. Over the years she became Mama Jo, Grandma Jo, Aunt Jo and Miss Jo to many.
She is survived by her children, Linda, Gail and Deborah, along with nine grandchildren, Joey (Michelle) Vereen, Andee (Jeff) DiCola, Mindy (James) Jackson, Duane Griffin, Thad Griffin, Shawn (Nickie) Griffin, Paige Livingston, Melissa (Travis) Roberts and Tara (Andy) Emrich. She is also survived by 16 great-grandchildren: Avery Vereen, Nick DiCola, Matt DiCola, Xavier Griffin, Zoe Griffin, Greyson Griffin, Noah Griffin, Nash Griffin, Zane Griffin, Delinda Gilmore, Tommy Hall, Matty Roberts, Chloe Roberts, Kaitlyn Emrich, Aliyah Emrich and Ava Jackson. She is also survived by four great-great grandsons, Xaiden Griffin, Leo Roberts, Lincoln Roberts and Hayes Griffin. She is also survived by one sister, Peggy Estep of Lakeland, Fla. and so many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, it is impossible to list them all.
She was preceded in death by her husband, J.B. Livingston, husband Howard Grainger, her parents, her sisters Mary Wright, Vernon Turner and Myrtle Weeks, and her brothers, Dick Atkinson, Bennie Atkinson, Jim Atkinson, Cleve Atkinson, Harry Atkinson, Edward Atkinson, Willie Atkinson and Jerry Atkinson, and her brother #8 in line next to her, Tom Atkinson, who was killed in the Normandy invasion. Her son, Tommy, named after her brother, passed in 2003.
She always said she never worked for anyone that she was always the boss. She and J.B., her first husband, built and operated in 1946 what is now Griffin’s IGA. Her daughter Linda and her husband Frankie bought it from them in 1962 and took over that business of course with her help working in the store and with the bookkeeping. In 1986, it was sold to her grandson, Thad. She then went back to work in the store helping Thad with his bookkeeping while at the same time working with her daughter Deborah and her husband Lee in their business at Grand Strand Sandwich Company. She always helped her family in their businesses.
She and J.B. started and operated Waterway Furniture Company in 1956 then sold the business to their young salesman, the late James R. Jordan. Waterway Furniture Company is still in business today operated by the Jordan family. After J.B.’s passing, she also owned the Anchor Inn Motel and managed the Cypress Bay Golf Course. After she and Howard ‘Bubba’ Grainger married, they developed Grainger Lake in Longs.
For her semi-retirement, she continued to work only with her daughter Deborah at the Grand Strand Sandwich Company until she retired at age 90.
She always remarked that the Lord was always good to her and as evident by her surviving family and her success in business. The Lord has indeed blessed her with a very abundant life. She will be greatly missed by all.
The family has designated North Myrtle Beach Christian School (9535 SC 90, Longs, S.C. 29568) for memorial contributions.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Wampee Baptist Church. The family received friends for one hour prior to the service. Burial followed at Forest Lawn Cemetery on Watertower Road in Longs.
A guest book is available at www.leefhandcrematory.com.
Lee Funeral Home & Crematory of Little River/North Myrtle Beach served the family.