Family says shooting victim known for big heart, generosity - FOX Carolina 21

Family says shooting victim known for big heart, generosity

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Bill Ardis (Courtesy Ardis' family) Bill Ardis (Courtesy Ardis' family)
Phillip Hollingsworth (Laurens Co. Sheriff's Office) Phillip Hollingsworth (Laurens Co. Sheriff's Office)
WATERLOO, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Family and friends of a Waterloo man said he was known for helping others, including the suspect accused of shooting him to death Thursday.

To family and friends, Bill Ardis, 65, was know as "big man," not only because of his stature but because of his big heart.

And his family said it was his passion for helping people that may have cost him his life.

"That mouth and talking about them chickens from Carolina, he was a big Carolina fan," said Phyllis Davis, Ardis' sister-in-law. She said he loved football and NASCAR.

But most of all she said he loved his family and helping people. Davis said that's how he got to know Phillip Hollingsworth, 41, the suspect deputies spent much of Thursday searching for in connection with Ardis' death before he later turned himself in.

"This guy had just gotten out of jail in June," Davis said. "Bill gave him and his girl a place to stay, trying to help them do better, and this is what we've got."

Davis said besides a place to stay, her brother-in-law also gave Hollingsworth a job at his company, Ardis Roofing in Greenwood.

A company Davis said Ardis spent 30 years building and used much of the money he made helping those around him.

"Bill has always been that way. He will give you the shirt off his back," Davis said. "He was always good to everybody and never mean to anybody."

Claudia Mabrey considered Ardis a good friend and had trouble holding back tears as she talked about him Thursday.

Mabrey said he was known for helping people and for having the money to do so. She said his death was likely the result of someone taking advantage of that.

"He was a wonderful man; why someone would want to do this to him I can't understand it, they robbed the world of a wonderful man," Mabrey said.

Ardis leaves behind four children, five grandchildren and his first great-grandchild is due in January.

Hollingsworth is being held at the Laurens County jail, charged with murder, kidnapping, grand larceny and two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

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