Columbia – James Donald Gissendanner, 89, passed away at his home on Friday, October 18, 2019. Visitation will be at 11:00 am on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at Moseley Funeral Home, 914 Meeting Street in West Columbia, SC, followed by graveside services at noon at Elmwood Cemetery in Columbia, SC.
Mr. Gissendanner was born in Columbia on February 20, 1930, the youngest child of Walter Lee Gissendanner, Sr. and Annie Aimar Gissendanner. His mother died shortly after giving birth, and he was raised by his half-brother, Walter Lee Gissendanner, Jr. and his wife, Verna Mae Gissendanner, as their son.
Mr. Gissendanner was a graduate of Columbia High School and Clemson University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. He was a distinguished military student. After graduating from Clemson in 1953, he attended the Officers’ Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky and, thereafter, was a platoon leader, executive officer, and then company commander of Tank Company, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. He retired from the active reserve with the rank of captain.
After military service, he was employed in the Missile Division of the Douglas Aircraft Company in Charlotte, NC, then with Lockwood Greene Engineers in Spartanburg, SC, as an electrical designer. He then joined the staff of Lyles, Bissett, Carlisle & Wolff, Planners, Architects, Engineers in Columbia as an electrical design engineer, and later was Head of the Electrical Engineering Department. He became a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of SC in 1964, a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1969, and a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of NC in 1973.
Among his notable achievements were the complete electrical designs of the Charleston Naval Hospital, the Medical University of SC Basic Science and Dental Building, the Clemson Cooper Library, the Winthrop College Library, the Brown and the Blatt State Office Buildings, the Jefferson Square Complex, the Bank of Clinton, the Columbia Square D Plant, the Florence General Electric Plant, the Benedict College Library, Highrise Dormitory and Gymnasium.
In 1974, Mr. Gissendanner joined the staff of the SC Department of Labor as the Standard Officer in the OSHA Division, and then as Assistant Director for Technical Support. Upon retirement from the Department of Labor in 1993, he frequently offered his services to law firms as an engineering and OSHA consultant, until 1996.
Mr. Gissendanner was an ardent supporter of Clemson University’s academic and athletic programs, having been a donor of the Clemson Fund for 50 years and a continuous member of IPTAY for 59 years. He provided financial aid to several college students both at Clemson University and Columbia College. Mr. Gissendanner was a member of the First Baptist Church in Columbia and a friend of the Bethany Chapel. He was also a member of the Rotary Club and the American Legion
Mr. Gissendanner is survived by a number of nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by all of his parents, and six brothers; Dean, George, Emory, William, Vernon and Thomas, and two sisters, Ferole “Doodle” Golden and Beatrice Sloan.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 1000, Columbia, SC 29202.