Myrtis Malphrus Herndon Stevenson passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. She was born on March 18, 1930 to the late William and Oneita Malphrus of Ridgeland, SC.
Myrtis had a long and distinguished career as a businesswoman. With Johnny Herndon, she established Herndon’s Department Sore in Ridgeland in 1950 and operated it until it was destroyed by fire in October of 1966. Herndon’s Department Store created many jobs and was especially known for providing part-time employment for many local high school students.
After obtaining a small business loan in 1968, Myrtis started Kim Fran Department Store in Ridgeland. In 1971, her hard work and success earned her recognition as the first woman in South Carolina to be honored with the “Small Businessman Award “, which was presented to her by Governor John West. Not long after she received this honor, the award’s name was changed to “Small Businessperson Award”—a name reflecting, as Myrtis had shown, that men were not the only ones who could succeed in business.
Upon moving to Hilton Head Island in 1986, she established Family Fashions and Furniture, which she owned and operated until her retirement in 2008.
In addition to being an accomplished businesswoman, Myrtis was a talented musician who loved sharing her gifts as a singer, guitarist, pianist, and drummer. She taught her grandson, Paul Burgess II, how to play the guitar at a young age, and she was so proud that at least one of her 8 grandchildren had followed in her footsteps as a passionate musician.
She is survived by her three children John Gary Herndon, Fran Herndon Mollica, and Robin Herndon Carney; her beloved grandchildren David Herndon, Chris Herndon, Timothy Herndon, Josh Schap, Peggy Bowman, Dustin Lee, Paul Burgess II, and James Burgess; and many great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She has one surviving sister, Kathryn King, and was preceded in death by her siblings William (Winky) Malphrus, Libby Harper, Martha Cannon, and Lois Malphrus.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, June 19, 2021 at the Sauls Funeral Home Chapel in Ridgeland.
To send flowers to Myrtis' family, please visit our floral store.