H.F. “Pete” Partee was born April 19, 1929, in Westminster, SC, to parents Hoyt W. Partee and Genevieve M. Finley Partee. He graduated from Greenville High School in 1946 and attended the University of South Carolina and received his LL.B degree from the USC School of Law in 1952. He served in the U.S. Army, where he was commissioned as the First Lieutenant in the Judge Advocate General Corps in 1952 and remained on active duty until 1954. His service included 21 months in Korea and Japan, and he served as defender and prosecutor in general court martial.
In 1955, he began the private practice of law. He served as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Greenville from 1958 to 1962, where he primarily prosecuted jury trials in Recorder’s Court. From 1962 to 1969, he was the Assistant Circuit Solicitor in Greenville County.
In 1969, Pete was appointed Greenville County’s first public defender on a part time basis while continuing the private practice of law. In 1976, the position was made full time and the private practice was discontinued. In 1992, he retired from the public defenders’ office and returned to private practice.
Partee was a communicant and former vestryman of Christ Episcopal Church and was active in Faith Alive, a lay renewal ministry. He was a member of the S.C. Bar, Greenville County Bar Association, S.C. Trial Lawyers Association and Greenville Rotary Club. He served on the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Council and Blue Ribbon Task Force, where he studied the indigent defense system. He had formerly served on the board of directors of the S.C. Public Defenders Association.
He enjoyed taking pictures of gatherings of lawyers and developing and printing them in his dark room. He made pictures for the first Christ Church School annual. Later he was “The Voice of the Cavaliers” for the Christ Church School football team.
H.F. “Pete” Partee died on November 14, 2012. He is survived by his wife, E. “Sibet” S. Partee; his children, Laura P. Branton, E. Sanders Partee and Dr. Peter M. Partee; and 11 grandchildren, Elizabeth, Caroline and Margaret Branton; Sibet, Iso, Grey and Finley Partee; and Aden, Casey, Finley and Gibson Partee.