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Tuesday, 21 February 2017


BEAUFORT, SOUTH CAROLINA - Rejoice with family and friends in the long life and loving memory of our beloved Ellen who peacefully passed away at the dawn of a glorious Sunday morning, February 12, 2012.

Born to Walter and Isla Porter Poston in Prospect, South Carolina, she was a true daughter of the state of South Carolina. She lived in Johnsonville, Black Mingo Plantation, Andrews, Conway, Columbia, Florence, Orangeburg, and in Beaufort, South Carolina where she resided for nearly fifty years.

Coming of age during the swing era of the 1930’s, Ellen always loved to dance. In the fall of 1938, she was chosen to go from Columbia to the Roxy Theatre and the Astor Hotel Rooftop Ballroom in New York City to perform and demonstrate the “Little Apple” dance which she had helped develop from the “Lindy Hop”, more commonly known as the “Jitterbug”. By 1939, the “Little Apple” had been popularized and became known as “The Shag”, which is now the office state dance of South Carolina. Even at age 90, she was on the dance floor at her grandchildren’s weddings. Ellen was also a successful business woman who helped her husband, W.B. “Tut” Harper, start Beaufort County’s first Volkswagen dealership in 1965. Mr. Harper predeceased his wife in 1983. She is best remembered in Beaufort as the owner of Ellen Harper, the town’s first shop that sold only women’s apparel. She was also the buyer for her store and journeyed seasonally to make her merchandise purchases in New York City and Miami, Florida.

She spent her final years in Coral Gables, Florida, living with and is survived by her only child, Bruce Harper and his wife, Melinda. She is also survived by her grandchildren Will Harper of Winter Park, Florida, Jackson Harper and his wife, Monica, of Coral Gables, Florida, and Sarah Harper O’Brien and her husband, Matt, of Tampa, Florida. Surviving great-grandchildren are: Josie and Mark O’Brien and Lee Harper. Surviving nephew and nieces are: John J. Snow, Jr. and Carolyn (Sissie) Snow McAlister of Hemingway, South Carolina and Isla Mae Gaffney of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
A graveside service for Sarah will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 18th at Beaufort Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, the family request that contributions be made to United Way of the Lowcountry, Inc., P.O. Box 202, Beaufort, SC, 29901.

Online Condolences (4)add
... : Tripp Jones
My condolences to the Harper family. I have fond memories of Mrs. Harper, who always made our Superbowl Sundays and Christmas Eves better and better with each passing year.
February 17, 2012
... : carl vella
Bruce, your mom was such a fine lady, always upbeat and energetic. I still remember her driving us to Orangeburg back in our junior high days and hanging out at your home. I think I still owe you for the tow truck. Love to your family, Carl
February 18, 2012
... : Mary and Forrest Jones
Dear Harper family,
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Mrs. Harper was a fine, southern lady and always reminded me of my southern heritage. We will truly miss her, especially at Superbowl parties and on Christmas Eve.
February 19, 2012
... : MaryLou Sheahan
Bruce, I know U loved U mom so very much, even if u had to wear a pumpkin suit for Halloween one year. My very best to u & ur family!
February 17, 2016
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