Horry County Schools lost one of its longest-serving board members Saturday night.
District 8 board member John Poston, 52, died from complications related to COVID-19 after a lengthy struggle in the hospital. He leaves behind his wife, Robin, and children, Henry, Mary and Abby.
“To say I’m devastated is an understatement,” board chairman Ken Richardson said. “I’m heartbroken. I can’t even think about replacing him. I can’t even think about losing him. God knows I’m praying for his family. He loved his family and he loved these school kids.”
Poston had served on the school board since he was first elected in 2008. When Richardson was elected chairman, he made Poston his vice chairman. He was preparing to do it again.
“When it came to parliamentary stuff, John is as smart as I’ve ever seen,” Richardson said. “I knew when I got elected that John was going to be my vice chairman because I had that much confidence in him. He had been on the board that long and a guy that sharp, nobody had ever given him the chance to be vice chairman.”
Poston and Richardson could often disagree, the chairman said.
“John was like a brother to me,” he said. “We argued a lot, and that’s what I liked the most about him. There’s times I had to change his mind and there’s times he had to change my mind, but we always had each other’s back.”
One example was putting kids back into schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Richardson said they rarely had a conversation where Poston wouldn’t bring up the topic.
“John fought me the hardest about putting these kids back in school,” Richardson added. “For something like this to happen, I don’t know. I got the call a while ago and I don’t even know what to say.”
While Richardson chaired the board of directors for Horry-Georgetown Technical College, the school did a lot of work with Castles Engineering, where Poston worked at the time.
“He’s never told me anything that wasn’t the way it was supposed to be,” the chairman said.
Richardson was elected to his position after former board chairman Joe DeFeo died in 2018, but he hadn’t served on the school board before then.
“I can’t speak for how people felt when Joe passed away,” Richardson said, “but I can tell you there’s a hole in my heart … you can’t fill these types of holes.”