MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – News 2 has learned the owner of Boone Hall Plantation, Willie McRae, has passed away after a long battle with cancer.
Family members say a memorial service celebrating McRae’s life will be held as soon as gatherings can again be held.
McRae was 65 and would have celebrated his 66th birthday on Friday.
The McRae family handled crops for many growers in the Charleston area dating back to 1955 when Willie’s family first purchased the plantation, according to Boone Hall Plantation’s website.
The production came to a halt in 1989 following Hurricane Hugo, but the plantation says Willie McRae later resumed produce production in 1996.
McRae recently received the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor, and signed legislation where Boone Hall can never be developed.
He told News 2 in November that he had been waiting his whole life to make that conservation easement a reality. “It makes me really happy to know that many generations to come can grow up and come back to the plantation where everybody should be able to enjoy it.”