Daphne McDuffie Friedman Bethencourt, 70, of Kennesaw, Georgia, passed away on August 19, 2023, surrounded by family. Born on January 16, 1953, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, she was the daughter of the late Rubinelle McDuffie Friedman and Robert Seymour Friedman. She was preceded in death by her brother, Robert S. “Bobby” Friedman.
Daphne was a 1971 graduate of Vardell Hall in Red Springs, North Carolina, and a 1973 graduate of Sullins College in Bristol, Virginia. At both institutions, she was recognized as a student leader and served on the May Court. She enjoyed a long and successful career path that included work with Eastern Airlines, Kaiser Permanente, real estate work in Columbia, South Carolina, and most recently, Windsong Properties in Georgia.
Daphne was a beautiful woman in every sense of the word. She lit up every room with her engaging smile and laugh and truly became the “Life of the Party” at every event she attended. She looked for the good in each new acquaintance and treasured her older friends throughout her life. She loved music, especially the Motown music of her generation, and could croon renditions of the Temptations’ “My Girl” and the Impressions’ “People Get Ready” with the best of them!
From childhood, Daphne developed a love and respect for nature. She relished in the outdoors and adored horses and dogs. During the Pandemic, she became an ardent bird watcher. Her bird feeders and daily bird feeding tasks were legendary. She also loved flowers, butterflies, and gardens, and created a magical garden space with four seasons of blooms.
Daphne loved the little things that so enriched everyday life—family get-togethers and holiday dinners, lovely costume jewelry, chocolate cupcakes, annual performances of “The Nutcracker,” and canasta. She was known as the “Queen of the Lemon Pie” and perfected the old Eagle Brand pie recipe that was popular in the 1950s. She capped it with her famous towering meringue.
Without question, Daphne’s greatest love was her family. She treasured each family member and loved each one unconditionally. When she was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, she fought with every fiber of her being to spend more time with her family. She was an example of fierce strength and showed us all her joy of living even under the most challenging circumstances.
Daphne is survived by her two daughters, Rachel Willis and son-in-law Jason Willis of Acworth, GA., and Amanda “Mimi” Hines and son-in-law Reagan Hines of Kennesaw, GA. She had three beloved Grandchildren, Cole Willis, Asher Hines, and Emerson "Emmie" Hines. Other survivors include her Sister Belinda F. Gergel and her brother-in-law Richard Mark Gergel of Charleston, South Carolina, her nephews Robert “Richie” Gergel and Joseph Gergel, and her beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Sugar.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, September 23, at noon at The Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, 144 Caldwell Street, Rock Hill, SC, Officiant The Very Rev. Dr. Raymond Joe Waldron. Donations in Daphne’s name may be made to the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation at www.alamobreastcancer.org.