Hillyer Michael Royston, Jr., known as Michael, passed away on Sunday, March 30, 2014, at the age of 28.
Born on October 30, 1985, in Athens, he spent most of his life in and around Madison County, before moving to Edisto Island, S.C. several years ago. He was the son of Hillyer Michael Royston, Sr. (Mick) and Genevieve Wemyss Royston (Genny).
Survivors in addition to his parents include a brother, Robert Keith Royston and Kathryn Morrow Royston (Katie). Michael also leaves behind a sister-in-law, Holly Royston; nephew, Grant Royston; and grandmother, Kathryn Wemyss. He also survived by Amelia Claytor (Amey), his partner and brightest light of his life.
Known throughout his life for his startling intelligence and profound respect for the natural world, Michael spent as much time as he possibly could hunting, fishing, and caring for animals. From his childhood days walking Vineyard Creek with Katie, to his last, happiest years exploring Botany Bay with Amey, Michael often expressed his love by spending time outdoors with others. His hunting and fishing buddies numbered in the dozens, but Michael was always eager to take someone new out on the water or into the woods. A common phrase amongst those who miss him is, “we were supposed to go fishing soon.”
In addition to being an outdoorsman, Michael was also an intellectual and an athlete. Although he was an honor graduate from Madison County High School and an alum of the Governor’s Honors program, Michael did not consider himself an academic. However, once interested in a subject, he researched it to its foundation, and therefore impressed many with his knowledge, especially as it related to macrobiology. Michael was also a soccer player for over ten years, with three of those years spent on the MCHS varsity team.
Later in life, Michael moved to Edisto Island, a place he adored for both its ecology and its people. He made friends from all walks of life, sometimes through his work at the hardware store or tiling, often while preparing to go fishing. Michael made no discrimination in making friends or in helping others. He also was very fond of children, and they of him, as one could see by the children’s drawings displayed in his home. However, he spent most of his free time on the island with Amey, whom he loved with all his heart. Many on the island have related fond memories of the two of them and the love they had for each other.
A memorial service to honor Michael’s life will be held in New Hope Presbyterian Church outside of Comer, on Saturday, April 19, at 3 p.m. A reception will follow at the New Hope Schoolhouse.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Michael Royston Memorial Fund, which will support Amey and her medical expenses. Checks can be sent to the Michael Royston Memorial Fund, c/o First Citizens Bank, P.O. Box 95, Comer, GA 30629, or deposits can be made from any First Citizens Branch.