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Michael John Cavanaugh

October 15, 1951 February 16, 2019
Michael John Cavanaugh
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Obituary for Michael John Cavanaugh

Services for Michael John Cavanaugh, will be held at 3 o’clock, Thursday, February 21, 2019 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 2827 Wheat Street, Columbia, SC. Visitation will follow in the Barr Center at the church.

Born October 15, 1951 in Waynesville, NC, he was the son of the late Martyn John Cavanaugh and Viola Cavanaugh. He grew up in Newberry, South Carolina graduating from Newberry High School. He attended the University of South Carolina and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and later with a Masters in Criminal Justice.

He enjoyed a career of service to others throughout his life. He served as the SC Director of Probation, Pardons and Parole; Executive Director of a private correctional facility Southbridge Center; directed a grant for the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation to develop sentencing guidelines for the courts; and served as the Past Director of the Carolina Children’s Home. Most recently, he enjoyed a new career in real estate. He was awarded The Order of the Palmetto by Governor Carroll A. Campbell, Jr. on January 10, 1995.

Mr. Cavanaugh is survived by his wife of 39 years, Jeanne Underwood Cavanaugh. Also surviving are his two children, Kathryn C. Bernstein (Lowell) and Zachary M. Cavanaugh of Columbia; and a grandchild, Samantha Kate Bernstein. Surviving are his stepmother, Verna Kohn Cavanaugh and his brother, Jeffrey Cavanaugh (Elaine).

Community service was always important to him. He served as District Governor for Rotary International District 7770 for 1998/1999. He was a Paul Harris Fellow. Other responsibilities with Rotary were former Past President of Rotary Club of Five Points and founder and Past President of the Rotary Club of the Vista Nights. He was a Group Study Exchange team member to England prior to joining Rotary. Recently, he delivered Meals on Wheels weekly to a wonderful group of adults. His service to St. John’s Episcopal Church included serving on Vestry and a Pastoral Search Committee, teaching Confirmation Class and supporting the youth as youth advisor.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the USC Educational Foundation for the College of Nursing Family Fund, College of Nursing Development, 1601 Greene Street, Columbia, SC 29208; the Hal Kohn Memorial Library, 1100 Friend Street, Newberry, SC 29108; or Meals on Wheels, Senior Resources, Inc., 2817 Millwood Avenue, Columbia, SC 29205.

The family expresses heartfelt appreciation for the excellent care Mr. Cavanaugh received from his talented healthcare team. A very special thank you to Bradley Word, MD, James Dickson, MD, Bill Phillips, MD, Spencer Jenkins, MD, David Fulton, MD and Joey Campbell, MD.

The outpouring of love and support from so many family and friends has touched us deeply.

Memories and condolences may be shared at or at

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3:00 PM 2/21/2019 3:00:00 PM
St. John's Episcopal Church

2827 Wheat St.
Columbia, SC 29205

Visitation will follow in the Barr Center at the church.

St. John's Episcopal Church
2827 Wheat St. Columbia 29205 SC
United States

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