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World War II veteran, S.C. lawmaker Moffatt Burriss dies at 99

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T. Moffatt Burriss, a World War II veteran, S.C. lawmaker and former Columbia-area contractor, died Friday at age 99.

Burriss’ obituary, posted on the website of Shives Funeral Home, drew responses lauding “a great American hero” and “one of the finest men I have ever known.”

Burriss was a paratrooper in the Army from 1942-1945. His role and that of others in the 82nd Airborne in the 1944 mission “Operation Market Garden” in the Netherlands were featured in the 1977 movie A Bridge Too Far.

Burriss, a Republican, represented Richland County in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1977-1992.

“Moffatt Burriss is one of the finest leaders our state and nation has ever produced,” S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted on Friday. “His family is one of the finest families I have ever known. He delivered freedom to people around the world and made the lives of those he touched better and safer.”

McMaster ordered Statehouse flags lowered to half-staff on the day of Burriss’ funeral.

Born in 1919 in Anderson, Burriss graduated from Clemson University in 1941. He worked as a general contractor, forming Burriss Construction Co. with his three sons in 1970.

Burriss was president of the Executive's Association of Greater Columbia from 1964-65 and served as executive director of the Business-Industry Political Action Committee, according to his obituary. In 1989, he received the Order of the Palmetto from then-Gov. Carroll Campbell.

A memorial service was held Sunday at Lake Murray Presbyterian Church in Chapin.

“Very sad to hear that my good friend Moffatt Burriss passed away at the incredible age of 99,” U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted Friday. “Moffatt was a certified World War II hero and one of the driving forces for South Carolina business throughout his entire life.”

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