Cover photo for Joan Lewis O'Briant's Obituary
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Joan Lewis O'Briant

January 29, 1941 — March 8, 2023

Joan Lewis O’Briant, 82, passed away Wednesday, March 8, 2023 in her home in Columbia, SC, after a battle with cancer.   

Joan was born in Charleston, SC on January 29, 1941, to Joseph Barnett Lewis and Pearl Blocker Lewis.  Her beloved husband, Edward Dewey O’Briant, preceded her in death in 2020.   

She is survived by her four sons, Timothy Edward O’Briant (Jennifer) of North Augusta, SC, Terrence Lee O’Briant (Sherry) of Sanford, FL, Sean Joseph O’Briant (Jennifer) of Worthington, OH, and Ian Cornelius O’Briant (Jennifer) of Columbia, SC and a daughter in law, Sharyn O’Briant of Brunswick, GA.  Other survivors include seven grandchildren, Colin, Brendan, Maeli, Raelyn, Quinn, Liam, and Oona; her sister, Judy Lamanna (Neil) of Raleigh, NC; sister-in-law Claudia Bond of Fort Worth, TX; and a host of nieces and nephews.  

Joan grew up in Charleston, and maintained a lifelong love of the historic and beautiful city.  She graduated from Bishop England High School in Charleston and Winthrop University in Rock Hill.  She taught high school students both English and Spanish at her alma mater and in Brunswick, GA, before a long career at Walterboro High School.  She was a passionate teacher who brought high energy to the classroom, engaging and inspiring her students.   

After retirement, she would also teach Spanish to adults and provide translations for law enforcement.  She truly loved being able to connect with Spanish speakers and make them feel accepted and included.  Joan took an extended break in her career to raise her four sons, for which they are exceedingly grateful.  She knew how to take the mundane and turn it into an adventure, and helped her children learn to seek joy in all they do.   

Joan and Ed were steadfast in their faith in Jesus Christ, and belonged to and served in Catholic churches in every community they settled in.  Joan particularly enjoyed being a Liturgical Minister and performing the public reading of scripture during services.  Joan and Ed spent many hours in their retirement years serving the hungry and needy through Saint Mary’s Church in Aiken, SC.  An avid reader, Joan was always found with a pile of books and magazines next to her.  She loved to learn, and devoured anything on archaeology, art, science, and many other topics.   

The family will receive friends Thursday evening, March 16th from 6 until 8 o’clock at Shellhouse-Rivers Funeral Home.   

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, March 17, 2023, at 10 o’clock at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church on Fairfield St in Aiken, SC.  Interment will take place at Kinsey Cemetery in Round O, SC at 3 o’clock.   

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at St. Mary’s Church.   


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joan Lewis O'Briant, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, March 16, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Shellhouse - Rivers Funeral Home

715 E Pine Log Rd
Aiken, SC 29803

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Requiem Mass

Friday, March 17, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church

138 Fairfield St SE
Aiken, SC 29801

*Standard text messaging rates apply.


Friday, March 17, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Kinsey Cemetery

Round O, SC 29474

*Standard text messaging rates apply.



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