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.
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.