F. S. "Steve" Avery Jr., a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Low Country, died at his home in Bluffton, S.C. on Wednesday, August 12. He and his wife Nancy joined the Congregation when they moved to Hilton Head in 2004.
Steve was active in the Congregation, had served on the Fund Raising Committee, and was always vitally interested in the well-being of the church. Recently, for several years, Steve maintained the church grounds along with promoting volunteer Saturday Work Sessions. As a mutual friend and fellow church member noted “I will miss his strong presence at church….and his equally strong opinions.” Another church friend, who was on the committee with Steve, said they referred to the Fund Raising Committee as the “'Fun Raising Committee' and Steve was a star player. He not only had ideas. He DID things…and frequently was THE Cleanup Committee”.
While they were living in Greenville, S.C. for 25 years, Steve and Nancy were both active members of the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Steve was a past President of that congregation in 1972-73. Under his leadership the “Minister-on-Loan” program, offered by the Unitarian Universalist Association to churches without a minister, was initiated. After experiencing the difference a minister made to the congregation, for the first time the Fellowship decided to have a full-time minister.
During Steve’s presidency in Greenville, a major social action program was accomplished. Through a member, the congregation was contacted by the Tolstoy Foundation of New York, N.Y., a philanthropic organization. The membership endorsed the request of the foundation to bring Ugandan refugees, fleeing the upheaval precipitated by Dictator Idi Amin, to Greenville under their auspices. In December of 1972 approximately 29 refugees made up of families were welcomed. Two thirds of the people were placed in homes or living facilities found by GUUF member and the rest were housed in the Fellowship building. Within four to six weeks most of the heads of the households had found employment, many with the help of members of the church. Within three months all had found housing and were being assimilated into the community, in large part due to the efforts of the members of the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Steve and Nancy have two daughters living locally: Wendy Avery, who is a member of this congregation and their daughter, Alicia Salyer and family. Their son, Steven Avery, lives in the upstate. The family will hold a private ceremony.