William Orders

December 27, 1926July 3, 2019

William Hill Orders of Greenville, SC, died peacefully on July 3, 2019 at age 92. A lifetime resident of Greenville, he was the son of the late James B. Orders and Etta Hudkins Orders. Bill attended Greenville county schools; graduated from Greenville High School in 1943, and graduated from Clemson University in 1948. His Clemson education was interrupted by World War II; serving in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1946.

Shortly after graduating from Clemson University, Bill married his college sweetheart, Carolyn Lee, on September 4th. They established their home in Greenville where, together, they raised their family, built a business, and contributed greatly to their church and numerous community organizations.

After working seven years with his father and brother in the family business, Orders Mattress Company, Bill founded Orders Tile and Distributing Company in 1955. The young organization flourished under Bill’s leadership, expanding into a major southeastern flooring distributor, being ranked as one of the top 20 flooring distributors nationally and a top 100 privately-owned business in South Carolina. Bill served on many leadership positions in the flooring industry and allied associations, serving as one of the organizers and as a charter member of the National Association of Floor Covering Distributors, serving as its second president in 1973. A life-long member of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church, Bill earned his Eagle Scout Award as a youth, as an adult taught the Roundtable Sunday School Class of young-married couples, was a member of the Tommy Thomason Fellowship Class, and served in leadership positions on numerous Boards and Commissions for several decades.

Shortly after entering the workforce, Bill became involved in the local chapter of the Greenville Jaycees, serving in leadership positions at the local, state, and national level. This helped Bill realize his passion for service to his community and provided his path to serve on boards and in leadership positions for countless organizations. Those organizations included the United Way of Greenville, Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Greenville County Development Board, Greenville Hospital System Board of Trustees, Greenville Hospital System Foundation, Greenville Health Corporation, Greenville Community Foundation, Greenville Little Theatre, Greenville Police Service Bureau Board, Fred W. Symmes Foundation, the University Center of Greenville, and an active member since 1953 of the Kiwanis Club of Greenville. Through his Orders-Smith Foundation and working with the Urban League of the Upstate, scholarships for higher-education to the youth of the Viola Street community began being awarded.

Bill was a member of the Poinsett Club, and a member of the Greenville Country Club since 1959. He was an avid tennis player and golfer, and served as its president in 1966.

In addition, Bill’s service to his community expanded to include the Clemson University Foundation, Columbia College Board of Trustees, Greenwood Methodist Home, and as a 1980 and 1986 Delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business where he served as Chairman of the South Carolina Delegation in 1980.

He received the 1960 Distinguished Service Award for Greenville, 1977 Clemson University Distinguished Alumni Award, 1988 Columbia College Medallion for Service, Greenville High School 1993 Distinguished Alumni Award and inducted into the 1999 Greenville High School’s Hall of Fame, inducted into the 1994 World Floor Covering Association’s Hall of Fame, 1997 Urban League of the Upstate Whitney M. Young, Jr Award. Also, in 1997, Bill was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor for citizen service in South Carolina, by Governor David M. Beasley. In 2009, he received the “Lifetime of Giving Back Award” by G Magazine; in association with the Community Foundation of Greenville. Bill was predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Carolyn, his parents, and his brother. He is survived by his daughter, Nancy Orders Smith and her husband, Mike, of Greenville; granddaughters Whitney Smith Sturge and her husband, Andy, of Charlotte; Lindsey Smith Henson and her husband, Andy, of Charlotte; five great-grandchildren, Jack Henson, Tee Henson, Eloise Henson, Smith Sturge, and Day Sturge, all of Charlotte; his sister-in-law, Betty Smith Orders; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

He is also survived by Joyce Batchelor Parks, whom he loved dearly.

Bill and his family greatly appreciated his loving and wonderful caregivers, Pearl Thomason, Daphne Booker, Pearl Owens, and Anita Smith.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, July 7th, at 4:00 PM in the Sanctuary of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church in Greenville, Downtown Campus. Visitation will be held after the service in the Orders Parlor.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Buncombe Street United Methodist Church Endowment Fund, PO Box 1988, Greenville, SC 29602, or the charity of one’s choice.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at


  • James B. Orders, Father
  • Etta Hudkins Orders, Mother
  • Carolyn Lee Orders, Wife
  • Nancy Orders Smith (Mike), Daughter
  • Whitney Smith Sturge (Andy), Granddaughter
  • Lindsey Smith Henson (Andy), Granddaughter
  • Jack Henson, Great Grandchild
  • Tee Henson, Great Grandchild
  • Eloise Henson, Great Grandchild
  • Smith Sturge, Great Grandchild
  • Day Sturge, Great Grandchild
  • Betty Smith Orders, Sister-in-law
  • numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, he is also survived by Joyce Batchelor Parks, whom he loved dearly

  • Buncombe Street United Methodist Church Endowment Fund


  • Funeral Service Sunday, July 7, 2019
  • Visitation Sunday, July 7, 2019


William Orders

have a memory or condolence to add?

Karen Dortschy (previously Nolan)

July 9, 2019

I was saddened to read the obituary of Bill in the Charlotte Observer. I worked for Tarkett (sheet vinyl flooring, vinyl floor tile divisions) in New Jersey in the late 1980's and was the marketing communications/pr manager there. Bill was part of our company's distributor network and was very active on the leadership committee. I met him and his lovely wife, along with Mike Smith, numerous times at flooring trade shows and at our distributor events (one in Hawaii where most everyone was stricken with food poisoning - Mike will remember that!). Tarkett's president and ceo at the time, Ingvar Backhamre, was very difficult for many of us to work with due to his aloofness, but I know he always fawned over Bill, as he obviously was intimidated by his power.

Bill was a fine man, very polite and always professional and knowledgeable. It was a pleasure to work with a true Southern gentleman. I moved to Charlotte, NC area in 1989, and subsequently worked for Weyerhaeuser OSB division due to my experience with Tarkett. I wish all the businessmen in the Southeast were as professional and nice as Bill!

Although I haven't been involved in the flooring industry for many years, I have always remembered Bill Orders' polite, professional and kind ways. I am deeply sorry about his passing, but am glad our paths crossed.

God bless your family during this difficult time, and special thoughts to Mike Smith who I also worked with.

Carol Dargan

July 8, 2019

I was so sorry to hear today of Bill's passing. My mother and Bill were first cousins; my grandmother and Bill's mother were sisters. I have fond memories of our visits to Aunt Etta and Uncle Jim's home in Greenville and the wonderful hospitality of the entire Orders Family. It was always so obvious that they loved God, each other and those of us that were distant family.
I remember Bill's smile and warmth. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the cousins and especially Nancy and family.
Love, Carol Wiant Dargan
Port Republic, MD

Trish Campbell

July 7, 2019

We are so sorry to be out of town and can't be there to celebrate Bill's life today. He was an extradinary man and lived his life with such great integrity and great love for all people. Nancy, you were blessed with the best Mom and Dad as they were to have you. Trish xo

Richard Hardaway

July 5, 2019

To the Orders and Smith Families: I would like to extend my sincerest of condolences on the passing of Bill.

He was a kind, cordial and down-to-earth human being whom you always knew had the best interest of everyone he came to know. He was that kind of person.

The world indeed is a better place because of the positive attributes of Bill Orders.

Sincerely - - -

Richard Hardaway
Greenville, SC

Bob Varner

July 4, 2019

I came to know him through his business but it turned out to be a great friendship. He will be missed as a all great gentlemen are.Nancy and Mike i will try to be there ,Bob.

Connie Crosby

July 4, 2019

Mr Orders was a Southern Gentleman, a wonderful boss and a dear friend. Mr Orders treated all of his employees as family. If you were lucky enough to work for the “ family”, you gained so much integrity, knowledge, friendship and leadership. I will miss him, but we are lucky to have Nancy, Mike and the girls to carry on his legacy.