John Liston | Obituaries | The Press and Standard

by | November 5, 2018 11:18 am

John McTyeire Liston

The Wood Mortuary

Taylors – John McTyeire “Terry” Liston died October 31, 2018, in Greenville County. He was 86.

His life was given to public service that continued well into retirement. His personal courage and dedication as an educator inspired generations of South Carolina’s youth.

Liston was struck with polio when he was 12 years old. After months of physical therapy, he was returned to his mother, who was told the boy would never walk again.

And yet, this little boy from rural Colleton County, grew into adulthood to enlist in the U.S. Army, graduate from Wofford College, become a high school coach building two football programs at new schools and directing 4-H Camps through Clemson University. He earned a doctoral degree in education, and was superintendent of three South Carolina school districts.

He spent most of his career as a public school administrator, but those who had known him in his early years continued to call him Coach. Despite a slight limp caused by polio, he could be seen in those years running drills with his teams. He also taught physical education classes and United States Citizenship.

Upon retirement from the public schools, Liston relocated to his wife’s ancestral home in the Mountain View community of Northern Greenville County, where he became an active member and Sunday School teacher at Mountain View United Methodist Church. He served on the Greenville County Recreation Commission, and was a consultant to the South Carolina Educational Television network. He was on the inaugural advisory board of Greenville Technical College.

His avocations included an active golf schedule and reviving the Chastain farm upon which he lived.

After graduating from Wofford College in 1954, Liston enlisted in the U.S. Army, but his service was cut short because of the lingering effects of polio. He turned immediately to his lifelong career as an educator, accepting teaching and coaching positions at Blue Ridge High School. Meanwhile, he earned a master’s degree from Furman University. When the new Berea High School opened, he took the job of coach and guidance counselor.

He became coach and guidance counselor at Wade Hampton High School in Hampton County, and later was promoted to superintendent of Hampton School District 1.

He served as superintendent of Laurens School District 55, where he served for a decade. He capped his career as superintendent of Spartanburg School District 2.

Liston was the son of the late James Dawkins Liston and Evelyn Hutto Liston, of Smoaks.

He is survived by his wife, Frieda Anne Chastain Liston; two sons, William Rallie Liston and his wife Joy W. Liston; and John Phillip Liston and his wife Elaine S. Liston; grandchildren Jordan (Melissa), Wesley (Virginia), Joanna (Christan), and Amy (Ronnie); and great-grandchildren Will, Olivia, Henry and Liston.

A funeral service was held Sunday, November 4, 2018, 3:00 p.m., at Mountain View United Church, Taylors. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. The family will greet friends at the church fellowship hall following the funeral.

Memorials for John M. Liston can be made to the American Cancer Society and Mountain View United Methodist Church.

Online condolences may be made at


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