There is a prayer for our country in the Book of Common Prayer, in which God is asked to “Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners.” The life and service of Paul Andrew Sansbury, Jr. to the Nation, the State, the legal profession and to his family serves as an inspiring example of what each of us can do to make this prayer, with God’s help, a reality.
Paul was born in Darlington County in 1920. He was graduated from St. John’s High School and was valedictorian of his class. This set a precedent for academic excellence for his family. Three of his children also graduated from St. John’s High School and were valedictorians of their classes. He attended the University of South Carolina, graduating in 1941; and from the Law School of the University in 1943. Throughout his life was an active and devoted alumnus as a member of the Cum Laude Club, a President of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association, and as President of the University’s Educational Foundation for two terms. He took, perhaps, the greatest pride in having received the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award from his Alma Mater recognizing him as an outstanding alumnus. Paul served in the Army Air Corps as a cryptographer in the Caribbean area during World War II, and returned in 1946 to practice law in Darlington.
His civic honors were numerous. He served in the House of Representatives from Darlington County from 1967 to 1970. He was City Attorney for the City of Darlington for twenty-seven years (1962–1989); Chairman of the Darlington County Democratic Party (1950–1956); Vice-president of the South Carolina Municipal Attorneys Association (1955–1956); a member of the South Carolina Supreme Court’s Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competence (1983–1988). He was an active member of the Democratic Party and served as a presidential elector for John F. Kennedy in 1960.
Paul was a member of the Darlington Kiwanis Club and served as its president for two years, and as Lieutenant Governor of the Carolinas District for one term.
He was a life long member of the Darlington Presbyterian Church and held the offices of Deacon, chairman of the Board of Deacons and Elder.
Perhaps Paul is best remembered as a kind and loving husband, father and grandfather. He was married to Mary Anne Harris of Anderson, they have four children. Their children’s success, in large part, has been due to the effort and interest Paul poured into their lives to encourage them to scholastic excellence. There are also twelve grandchildren whose futures are filled with promise because of the life and example of their grandfather.
The prayer from which I quoted earlier also asks God to “Defend our liberties” and to “Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.” Paul’s life bears eloquent testimony to his part in making this land a better place in which to live in peace with God and man. All of us are better for his having lived among us.