Jackson T. Key
(Chief Electrician, Glendale Mills)
Story furnished by Clarence Crocker

Jack and Marguerite Key

Jackson Theodore Key was Chief Electrician at Glendale Mills from the late 1940s until it closed in 1961. “Jack”, as he was known and called, was a native of Spartanburg County, born in 1922, the son of Floyd Thomas and Sarah Franklin Key of Arcadia, South Carolina. They were a wonderful family which I had come to know back in the 1930s through their friendship with my mother in their church affiliation. 

Employed by J. Frank Blakely, a Spartanburg electrical contractor, Jack and his father Floyd, came to Glendale under contract for the purpose of rewiring the mill for the modernization program which had begun under the new owner/management. After the contract expired, both stayed on as an employee of Glendale Mills and were responsible for the rewiring of all houses in the village renovation program. Both bought their homes when the village houses were sold. Floyd Key had retired and died in November of 1974 at the age of 79. Sarah Franklin Key died in August, 1980 at the age of 82.

Though others in the mill machine shop work force did electrical work on a regular basis, Jack was given chief responsibility for the electrical work. When this writer took responsibility as Supervisor of the Engineering department I was in daily contact with Jack. I found him to be a cooperative, hard worker and a superb electrical technician. We had a great relationship.

Having helped organize the Glendale Fire Department, Jack was our first Fire Chief, retiring after 18 years of service - (1958-1976) He was a member of the Glendale Baptist Church, a Mason, past President of Spartanburg County Fire Chief’s Association, a member of District Three School Board of Trustees, a member of the Glendale Men’s Club and a Navy veteran of WWII. After the mill closed, Clarkson Bros. leased the mill building for a warehouse which Jack managed for a number of years. 

Jack had married Marguerite Prince, a wonderful lady of a prominent Spartanburg family. They became the parents of three fine boys; Jackson T. Jr., Bobby and Richard Key. They lived on Jackson Street in Glendale.

Jack died Friday, October 27, 2000 at the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center following a long illness. His obituary published in the Spartanburg Herald and Journal on October 29, stated that he was survived by his wife; two sons, Bobby and Richard Key; three grandsons, two granddaughters and one great grandson. He was also survived by four sisters; Betty Sue Bradley of Las Vegas, NV, Gloria Littlejohn of Greenville, S. C., Margaret Spillers of Spartanburg and Lib Wilson of Chester, S. C. He was predeceased by one son, Jackson T. Key Jr. and two brothers; T. F. Key of Charleston, S. C. and Ryan Key of Spartanburg. Graveside services were held in the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens on Sunday October 29, with interment following. This writer was honored in having a part in the services.

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