Perrin Quarles Dargan, Jr., or Pep as he was known to all, died on October 20, 2022 after a long and courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis. He was 84. Pep was born on July 27, 1938 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the first son of Perrin Quarles Dargan, Sr. and Mary Hart Greene Dargan. He lost his mother tragically two years later. Pep’s beloved grandmother, Mamie, moved into boy-land to help raise Pep and his brother, Bob. It was a happy, if slightly non-traditional family. Some years later, Pep’s father was preparing to marry his second wife, Mary Louise Hodge of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Pep and Bob, in a valiant but misguided attempt to protect their precious household gender imbalance and without fully thinking through the potential outcomes, tried to run off Mary Louise by launching a series of successful if inadvisable practical jokes. Their father was not amused and meted out consequences appropriate to the day, whereupon the boys shifted course and enthusiastically welcomed their new step-mother. They were rewarded with twin half-brothers, Richard Lawton Dargan and John Bachman Hodge Dargan, whom they dearly loved.
Pep grew up in Spartanburg with duel passions for reading and sports. He was a serviceable basketball player, principally a shooting guard with an unstoppable ambidextrous hook shot, but his true gift was golf. He and his brother, Bob traveled around the Carolinas, competing successfully in youth golf tournaments and otherwise preying on unsuspecting older golfers. Throughout his life Pep’s golf career would lead him to many of the world’s great courses, including The Old Course at St. Andrews, Gleneagles, Augusta National, Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, and Wade Hampton, to name a few. Following back surgery in his early seventies, he would shoot his age and under many times, frequently on his challenging home course, The Reserve in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Somewhat surprisingly, he notched only two holes-in-one, separated by an epic fifty-year drought, which, like so many things in life, he endured bravely.
After graduating from Spartanburg High School, Pep began his college career at Davidson, where he became a member of the Kappa Alpha Order. After two years of fun and games, his mother, father, and Davidson decided that Pep might benefit from more consistent doses of the sweet upstate South Carolina air, and he transferred to Wofford. Back on familiar Spartanburg ground, he dusted off his golf game at Spartanburg Country Club and joined the Wofford golf team.
The move also added fuel to Pep’s budding romance with his Converse College sweetheart, Helen Butler Freeman. Butler shared Pep’s passion for reading but not his athleticism. Her deeper talents lay in mathematics. Pep was fond of packing a cooler and sitting with friends on the grassy hill above the Converse playing fields to marvel at Butler’s “mathematical prowess” on the field hockey pitch. Pep and Butler graduated college in the spring of 1960 and married a few weeks later on June 18. They honeymooned at Sea Island, where they had beautiful dinners overlooking spellbinding sunsets, and Pep played golf with Butler for the first and, perhaps predictably, last time. Exactly nine months later, Butler gave birth to a beautiful girl, Helen Hart Dargan (Jones), a true Sea Island baby. His son, Perrin Quarles Dargan III followed thirteen months later. Pep was 24 years old with a wife, a job, and two babies. To keep things lively, seven years later a second beautiful daughter, Louise Frampton Freeman Dargan (Hughes), appeared on the scene. Helen, Perrin and Louise would eventually give Pep the ten grandchildren who would help define him as a grandfather and bring joy to his later decades.
Pep had an enormously successful career as a stock broker, principally with the firm of A.G. Edwards, which allowed him to provide a wonderful life for his family. And throughout this life he was many amazing things, but a few traits best illustrate who he was as a man. He was a perfect gentleman with impeccable manners. It didn’t take much to make him happy. He was as pleased with a cheeseburger as any fine meal. He loved to say, “Hard to beat a good burger!” He was both parts of fun-loving, funny and loving. He had a delightful sense of humor and an infectious laugh that lit up his entire countenance as well as those around him. He was kind, generous, and deeply caring. He listened to others and responded thoughtfully, offering sage, considered advice, but only when asked. He was, as one of his grandchildren noted, “an amazing listener.”
In later life, he was Pops to all ten of his grandchildren and, later still, his four step-grandchildren. They all adored him and glowed in his presence. No matter their many and varied paths, he reveled in their journeys, never directing and always applauding. He responded to their good news and accomplishments with one of his favorite words: “Wonderful!” They eagerly anticipated the moment when Pops’ Goodie Box would appear, overflowing with sweet treats. He was also a recovering alcoholic who, at his death, had remained unflinchingly abstinent for nearly fifty years, during which time he counseled many people who were struggling to emerge from darkness. He was selfless in his commitment to always being available to those in need, night or day. But above all, he was a committed Christian. He was baptized and raised Presbyterian, but after marrying Butler, was given the choice of becoming an Episcopalian or becoming an Episcopalian. So he did. He served his Lord and his congregations diligently, acting for multiple stints in his Episcopal and Anglican parishes on the Vestry, as Senior Warden and long-time Treasurer. His faith defined and gave structure and meaning to every moment of every day of his life. Pep and Butler lived admirably. They were devoted to family, community, and church. On July 30, 2007, however, Pep lost his beloved Butler and mourned her death profoundly. But tragedy can on occasion yield interesting and wondrous things. On September 4, 2008, he became the first man on record to have secured the affections of not one but two of Mount Pleasant’s beautiful Freeman family girls when he married the former Louisa Freeman, Butler’s first cousin and lifelong friend. Pep and Louisa fell in love while grieving Butler’s death and forged a relationship built on the solid foundation of a common love. The family did not technically grow, it just shifted a bit. He and Louisa lived fourteen happy years together in a loving home surrounded by their combined five children and fourteen grandchildren as well as photographs and memories of Butler. Louisa and Pep devoted their lives together to family and church. In their later time together, Louisa steadfastly and lovingly cared for Pep throughout his illness, making his final months comfortable and secure, for which his children and grandchildren are boundlessly grateful.
Pep was predeceased by his father, Perrin Quarles Dargan, senior, his mother, Mary Hart Greene Dargan, his step- mother, Mary Louise Hodge Dargan, his wife, Helen Butler Freeman Dargan, his brothers, Robert Lide Dargan II and Richard Lawton Dargan. He is survived by his wife, Mary Louisa Freeman Dargan; his brother, John Bachman Hodge Dargan; his children, Helen Dargan Jones (Robby), Perrin Quarles Dargan III (Lisa), and Louise Dargan Hughes (Allen); his step-sons, Charles Freeman Macloskie (Danae) and John Freeman Macloskie; his grandchildren, Mary Helen, Robert, Amelia and Perrin Jones, Sanders and Annie Dargan, and Chaplin, James, Josh and Dargan Hughes; and his step-grandchildren, Emma, Mary Hope, Amelia and Frampton Macloskie. Pep’s surviving family are equal parts sad at his passing and hopeful in the promise of God’s love, for Pep knew where he was going, and he knew the way there. A visitation will be held on Sunday, October 23 from two o’clock until four o’clock p.m. at The Abbey at Pawleys Island, in Pawley’s Island, SC. A funeral service will be held on Monday, October 24 at twelve o’clock p.m., also at The Abbey. Memorials may be made to The Abbey at Pawleys Island, Pawleys Island, SC or Friendship Place in Georgetown, SC. Please sign a guestbook at: www.mayerfuneralhome.com. The Georgetown Chapel of Mayer-Ethridge Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.