South Carolina

‘Matriarch of the community’: Longtime Cherry Grove Pier owner dies

Elizabeth Suggs Prince was an icon in the North Myrtle Beach area. Along with her husband, E.W. Prince, they ran the Cherry Grove Pier for more than 50 years.

Someone who especially loved children and a true Southern belle, Elizabeth Prince died Tuesday.

She was 93.

Family and friends will remember her as a great mother, a people person and someone who was very much loved. Her career was spent as a school teacher, until she became a mom. Prince’s goal in life was to have children, her daughter Beth Prince Gann said.

“She stopped teaching because she wanted to dedicate her life to us,” Gann said.

A Loris native, Prince was a mother to three children, Edward Prince III, Gann and Robert Prince, grandmother to seven grandchildren and great grandmother to four.

Edward Prince said his mother was a leader who showed the way, often from behind the scenes. She always taught her children the lesson of leaving things better than they found it, he said.

After Prince’s husband died in 1982, she took over the family businesses, including Prince Resort and the pier, which was purchased by her husband in 1965. Friends and family say she was always a friendly face to see.

“She was an icon for the City of North Myrtle Beach,” Gann said.

“My mother always taught me to do what was right,” she said. “That’s my take-away from her life.”

Elizabeth Prince 1.jpg
Courtesy of Beth Prince Gann

Robert Prince said his mother was a forgiving person, and she always kept a prayer list with her of people who needed prayer. And her stress reliever was going to work in the garden.

“She was so up-beat and always had a can-do spirit,” he said.

Prince was on the Board of Commissioners for Loris Healthcare, instrumental to the Seacoast Hospital expansion in North Myrtle Beach, and on the board for McLeod Healthcare System. Gann said her mother was always interested in local history.

Prince was also influential in different chambers of commerces in the area, including being one of the founders of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, landing all of the family businesses charter member statues, Robert Prince said.

Prince lobbied to get permission to bring fireworks to the North Myrtle Beach area, which are still shot off the pier for tourists and locals to enjoy.

When Hurricane Hugo destroyed the Cherry Grove Pier in 1989, Prince was determined to build it back, and she was successful in that, Gann said.

Courtesy of Beth Prince Gann

Cherry Grove Pier announced Prince’s death in a Facebook post Tuesday, which drew many commenters saying she will be missed.

“The CGP stands today as a testament to her strong will and determination,” reads a post on the Cherry Grove Pier Facebook page. She showed visitors love by saying, “Y’all come back. We love ya,” and she meant it, the post states. The saying was one she even said in a television advertisement.

Courtesy of Beth Prince Gann

Prince’s laugh, wit, energy and charm will be missed, said lifelong family friend Chris Hardwick of Hardwick Funeral Home.

“She’s just a matriarch of the community,” he said.

A visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Hardwick Funeral Home, and a funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at Loris First United Methodist Church. The committal service following the funeral will be private.

The Sun News Reporter Hannah Strong is passionate about making the world better through what she reports and writes. Strong, who is a Pawleys Island native, is quick to jump on breaking news, profiles stories about people in the community and obituaries. Strong has won four S.C. Press Association first-place awards, including one for enterprise reporting after riding along with police during a homicide. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Winthrop University.