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‘An infectious smile’: Community remembers Pawleys Island man who drowned in Intracoastal

Missing swimmer in Intracoastal Waterway: search resumes

Roger “Trell” Wigfall, 21, of Pawleys Island, SC was reported as a missing swimmer in the Intracoastal Waterway. SCDNR & rescue crews are searching near the Wacca Wache Marina in Murrells Inlet in Horry County.
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Roger “Trell” Wigfall, 21, of Pawleys Island, SC was reported as a missing swimmer in the Intracoastal Waterway. SCDNR & rescue crews are searching near the Wacca Wache Marina in Murrells Inlet in Horry County.

Roger Wigfall will always be remembered as a hard worker, someone with a big smile and a great friend.

He never complained when his boss called in a pinch and asked if he could come to work. He had a passion for football, video games and spending quality time with his family and friends. And when he prayed aloud, it wasn’t with big church words or rehearsed — it was genuine, from the heart.

The 21-year-old died after drowning in the Intracoastal Waterway, just north of the Wacca Wache Marina in Murrells Inlet. Crews searched for more than a day after reports of a missing swimmer. His body was recovered Monday night.

Astrid McCullough, Wigfall’s older sister, said her brother will always be remembered as being one of the kindest souls.

“I had no idea how many lives he touched until his passing,” McCullough said. “He’s loved by so many and although it’s hard, I truly know he’s in a better place.”

Wigfall graduated from Waccamaw High School, where he played offensive and defensive line on the football team, a 2015 Facebook post states.

Roger Wigfall.jpg
Waccamaw High School Football

His last job was at Groucho’s Deli in Pawleys Island for about three years and was always willing to pick up an extra shift, said owner Adam Hall.

“When you think about Roger, you think about that big smile,” Hall said. “He had an infectious smile.”

Hall said Wigfall always used kind words, was willing pitch in without ever complaining and was a great friend.

“Roger was one of those kind of people who was always in a good mood,” Hall said. “He will be missed.”

Wigfall was an alumni of Teach My People — a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children succeed in school and life — and there he grew in his faith and became a strong public speaker, said Eric Spatz, executive director at TMP. The loss of Wigfall has been heart-wrenching to the TMP family, Spatz said.

“He was never afraid to pray out loud,” Spatz said. “You could tell he constantly prayed in normal life — they were just words to God.”

Spatz said Wigfall didn’t belong to a clique.

“Roger didn’t have a group,” he said. “He was with everybody, whether it was the rich kids, poor kids, kids who didn’t look like him — he was one of those kids who everyone wanted to connect with. He was very lovable that way.”

The organization posted to Facebook: “It was not the miracle we were praying for but there is some peace in knowing that his family has him and are able to lay him to rest. We also have amazing peace knowing without a shadow of a doubt that Roger knew the Lord. When he prayed you thought you were in the throne room of heaven which we now know he is experiencing fully.”

Teach My People has raised more than $4,000 to help Wigfall’s family with funeral costs.

Here’s how you can donate to help support funeral expenses.

A service to celebrate Wigfall’s life will be at 3 p.m. Friday at Lighthouse of Jesus Christ Church in Georgetown.

Roger Wigfall smiles.jpg
Courtesy of Astrid McCullough

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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.
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