Learn our story, from the beginning and into the future.
Ever since we purchased Liberty Mortuary we have approached life (and death) differently. While some just see the end of a loved one’s life as a time for grief and mourning, we prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. This is evident in everything we do, from the way we conduct our services to the amenities we choose to offer. We are not just a mortuary. We are a close knit community dedicated to honoring, sharing and preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life.
How We Began
Our mortuary was founded in 1902 by John Gantt, Sr., and was known as the Gantt Funeral Home. After Mr. Gantt retired, his sons John, Jr. and Joe ran the funeral home. Liberty Memorial Gardens was founded in 1954.
James. T. Holtzclaw purchased the funeral home January 1, 1984. Shortly thereafter it was renamed Liberty Mortuary. James was a graduate of Greer High School, and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. Upon graduation he began his career at H.M. Patterson & Son’s Funeral Home in Atlanta, GA.
From 1984-2003 daily plans were made to build a new modern facility for our community. With the continued support of our local community and hard work our goals were accomplished.
In 1993 we moved to our current location behind where the old funeral home stood. Our new facility originally was a doctor's home of which we remodeled to better suit our needs and then built additions on either side. In 2003 our facility underwent a major renovation, and was decorated to meet the needs of our community. Warm pastels, comfortable furniture, and a home like atmosphere make our facility a perfect place to gather and remember your loved ones.
Continuing the Legacy
On January 17, 2001, our President, James T. Holtzclaw passed away leaving the family owned business to his son, Gene Holtzclaw naming him President and Owner of Liberty Mortuary.
Gene was a 1988 graduate of Gupton Jones College of Mortuary Science and was a licensed funeral director for 43 years. He spent his adult life helping families in their time of need and is still missed by our community.
In 2009, Gene retired and turned the managing ranks over to his son, Brad Holtzclaw. Gene passed away on January 14, 2014 and ownership was passed on to wife, Patricia Holtzclaw; however, their son Brad continues to operate and manage the funeral home.
In 2006, our Cremation Center on Alta Vista Drive at Liberty Memorial Gardens was built. It is a standalone facility that gives families the option of escorting their loved ones to the crematory or holding a memorial service for them. The Cremation Center currently operates solely for our own use to insure families that their loved ones never leave our care.
From 1984 until now, our facilities have changed, however the one constant is our commitment to the families we serve. We succeed by making a trying, difficult time a little easier for each family that walks thru our doors. We want to help you honor, remember, and celebrate the life of your loved one, in a warm, compassionate atmosphere.
years in business
In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.
We've learned a lot over many years. Like how to present options without overwhelming. And how to meet the needs of many caring parties. People come to us in difficult times, and we respond with kindness, compassion and expertise. Our goal is to create a beautiful occasion and make you feel welcome, always. We spend our days planning with families. We stay up to date with industry developments. And we make hard times a little easier.
Learn the legacy.
Liberty Mortuary was established years ago, and serving families has always been our focus. We take pride in being able to guide people through some of their most difficult days. We take pride in maintaining a setting that allows people to find solace. Celebrating life is our mission. That’s never changed. And with pride, it never will.
Who We Are
Meet our staff. Members of the local community make everything that happens possible. Together, we make this place amazing.
Brad offers 33 years of experience in the funeral industry. His career in funeral service began when he was just a young boy at the age of 7 and his family purchased the mortuary in Liberty. Brad is the son of Patricia N. "Pat" Holtzclaw and the late Eugene Brannon Holtzclaw. He has two children, Connor and Madison. A native of Liberty, SC, he attended Liberty schools and is a 1994 graduate of Liberty High School. Following high school, Brad found himself a place at Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science following in the steps of his father and grandfather and graduated in 1996.
A third generation funeral director, Brad grew up working in the family business. He has devoted his life to serving the families of the Upstate of South Carolina. Upon the death of his grandfather, Mr. James T. Holtzclaw in 2001, Brad’s vision, dedication, and hard work have seen the complete renovation of our current facility, along with the addition of numerous services to our community. His father’s retirement in 2009, and then his passing in 2014 have left him with a desire to continue the personal service and principles that he was taught at a very young age by his father and grandfather. It is his goal and the company’s commitment to offer the most attentive service in the most state of the art facilities to the people of our community, with compassion, understanding, and personal care.
Brad is a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, the Liberty Lions Club, and the South Carolina Funeral Directors Association where he is a past Chairman of the Piedmont Group.
He also founded our full service monument and bronze company, Holtzclaw Custom Memorials in 2010.
Patricia (Pat) Newton Holtzclaw was born at Fort Benning, Georgia and raised on a farm in Marlboro County, SC. She is a graduate of Winthrop University with a BS degree in Business Education. After teaching for several years, she turned her attention to the corporate sector. She became secretary to the district superintendent for State Farm Insurance Claims in Greenville, SC and later retired after being office manager for King Asphalt, Inc. in Liberty, SC.
Pat was married the late Gene Holtzclaw in 1971. Together, with Gene’s father, they purchased Liberty Mortuary, Inc. in January, 1984. Pat continued her secretarial work and also worked with Gene and his father at the mortuary. She is currently the owner of the firm.
Pat is the mother of Brad Holtzclaw, and also the grandmother of Madison and Connor Holtzclaw. She enjoys spending time with them and cheering them on during tennis and golf matches. Pat loves going to the beach, working word puzzles, and sitting on her porch. She is a member of Norris First Baptist Church.
Connor was born and raised in the funeral industry.
He is the son of Brad Holtzclaw, and is a 10th grade student at Daniel High School where he is on the golf team. When he's not on the golf course he stays busy learning the family business, and helping us on funerals.
Reid Bagwell is a licensed funeral director and embalmer who joined our team in 2005. He has lived in Liberty for over 30 years and graduated from Liberty High School in 1988. He attended Tri-County Technical College and worked at KEMET Electronics for over 13 years prior to his employment with us.
Reid graduated with Honors from the Funeral Service program at Piedmont Technical College in 2006. He and his wife Crystal have three daughters, Brianna Ellsworth, Bailey Bagwell and Brayden Bagwell.
He is a member of Norris First Baptist Church, and the Liberty Masonic Lodge, #235 AFM where he is a Past Master. In his spare time, he enjoys the outdoors and traveling.
Reid is a member of the South Carolina Funeral Directors Association along with the National Funeral Directors Association.
Russell, known as Pokey at the Mortuary, is a lifelong resident of Liberty, South Carolina. He and his wife, Vanessa, have three children; Melissa, Christopher, and Elizabeth as well as three grandchildren; Elijah, Camden, and Isabella.
A 1975 graduate of Liberty High School, he attended Spartanburg Technical College where he was certified as a paramedic for South Carolina. Russell was a paramedic shift supervisor for Greenville County EMS for approximately 14 years before attending the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and serving as a Sergeant for the Easley Police Department. Later, Russell joined our team part time while working for the Clemson University Police Department where he retired in 2001 as a Lieutenant and shift supervisor.
After his retirement, Russell made his permanent commitment to us as a full time Funeral Associate here at Liberty Mortuary where he offers 24 years of experience with us. In his spare time, Russell enjoys riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle, camping with his family, and being a volunteer firefighter for Liberty Fire Department. He is a member of the Gideon's International, South Carolina Law Enforcement Association, South Carolina Fire Fighters Association, and Refuge Baptist Church.
Part Time Funeral Associate / Grounds Superintendent
Lila Hendrix is a native of Pickens County and the widow of Arthur Hendix. It is her voice and warm smile that will greet you when you visit us or make a phone call to us.
Lila retired from Ohio Gear in 1990 and so willingly began her career in funeral service with Liberty Mortuary. She is a lifelong member of Golden Creek Baptist Church where she serves as the pianist. During her free time she enjoys reading, music, and helping people in need.
Brian R. Bolding is a Lt. with Uniform Patrol Division at the Pickens County Sheriff's Office with 24 years of service. He is a lifetime Pickens County resident growing up in Liberty and currently residing in Easley. He is married to Casey Georgiades Bolding.
During his free time he is an avid golfer and fisherman.
Mike is a longtime resident of Pickens County. He is married to Donna Dill Cartee, and has 3 children, Mary Ann, Lisa, and Ken, and 2 grandchildren.
He grew up and attended school in Pendleton. He is a graduate of Tri-County Technical College.
He served in the US Army Reserve, and later retired from the South Carolina Highway Patrol with 26 years of service. He then worked 16 years with the United States Marshal’s Service. He’s a member of the Liberty Masonic Lodge, #235 AFM, and Norris First Baptist Church.
A native of Liberty, Jeff is the son of the late Lloyd & Nara Cooper. He is a 1975 graduate of Liberty High School and a 1994 graduate of Central Wesleyan College where he received his degree in Business Management. Jeff and his wife Theresa have a son, Brandon, and 5 grandchildren.
Jeff retired from Michelin North America, Inc. in February 2017 after more than 40 years of service.
He also retired as a volunteer firefighter after having served both the Central and Easley Fire Departments for 27 years. Jeff joined us as a part-time staff member in 2017.
Jeff is a member of Jones Avenue Baptist Church and Central Masonic Lodge #229 AFM. With his wife, he enjoys hooking up the 5th wheel, loading up their dog, Calliope, and heading for any campsite.
Kevin is a lifelong resident of Liberty. He is married to his wife of 18 years, Angie Mauldin McClain and has one son, Harrison.
Kevin has worked with Liberty Mortuary for 33 years. At the age of 18, Kevin registered with the State Board of Funeral Services and completed his 2 year apprenticeship in Funeral Directing and Embalming.
Kevin works at the Vineyards Fire District full time, where he serves as the Assistant Fire Chief.
Kevin is a member of Lakeview Baptist Church in Pickens. He enjoys golf, fishing, and most of all Southern Gospel Music.