Beaufort Today -

Beaufort woman remembered for love of Lowcountry

Not only did Susan Shaffer have a love for the entire community of Beaufort, she also loved life.

“Susan was a free spirit. She loved life and everything about it,” said Greta Lynn, one of Shaffer’s former employers. “She had worked for me for three years, had been in Beaufort for the past 10 and was involved in anything to help other people.”

Shaffer, 40, of Beaufort, died after being involved in a two-vehicle accident May 3. The accident happened around 4 p.m. in the area of Sea Island Parkway and Dow Road, Beaufort County Deputy Coroner David Ott said.

A trailer from a Federal Emergency Management Agency truck came loose while traveling toward St. Helena Island, striking Shaffer’s white Honda sedan head-on, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

The accident was still under investigation by the South Carolina Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team last week, Highway Patrol spokesman Bob Beres said.

Lynn said Shaffer worked part-time at Herban Marketplace because she also wanted to work with a loggerhead turtle rehabilitation program and Higher Ground Outfitters, seeking time out on the water paddle boarding.

“She was always off every Wednesday in May to work with the loggerhead turtle program,” Lynn said. “That was a passion of hers and so was the Beaufort film festival and all of the community events she participated in.”

After the accident, a website was launched to share memories of Shaffer and help fund a scholarship in her name at The website is linked to a GoFundMe account that had raised more than $7,700 of its $10,000 goal as of May 10.

Lolita Huckaby, a longtime friend of Shaffer’s, said she was an incredible woman who touched many lives during her 10 years in Beaufort.

“Susan touched many lives through her volunteer work at Hunting Island State Park, he employment at Higher Ground Outfitters, and the Herban Marketplace as well as while she worked at USCB,” Watson said. “Everywhere she went, every hand she shook. She came from the small town of Hartsville and carried that small town charm that endeared her to so many.”

Shaffer was the daughter of JoFrieda Keller of Hartsville and the late Donald L. Kelley of Bishopville. She had been working toward a doctorate of religion and nature from the University of Florida. She is survived by her husband, Mark, also a Hartsville native.

Some of Shaffer’s friends posted their memories of her on the site. Most spoke of how she had a positive impact on Beaufort County. One of the entries came from Alan and Carol Welch of Beaufort.

“I share in the heavy loss of a dear, passionate friend of Friends of Hunting Island with the Sea Turtle Conservation Program,” Carol Welch said. “I so enjoyed walking the beach at sunrise with Susan as she so appreciated nature.”

Robert Merten, president of the Collaborative Organization of Services for Youth Trust, said the loss is devastating to the community.

“On behalf of the COSY Trust Board, we extend our love and prayers to Mark and all of Susan’s friends,” Merten said. “COSY has lost a true friend. For all of Beaufort, this loss is insurmountable.”