Remembering The Keeper

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Friends of Hunting Island honor former lighthouse keeper

Mark and Gary Gaillard, great-grandsons of last Lighthouse Keeper Theodore Gaillard and wife, Estelle Ellen, with Ted Panayotoff

The Friends of Hunting Island continued their 25th anniversary celebration with a special ceremony honoring the island’s last lighthouse keeper last week.

On Friday, Aug. 10, the group held a ceremony at the Parish Church of St. Helena Cemetery at St. Luke’s Gate on Newcastle Street in downtown Beaufort, honoring former lighthouse keeper Theodore Gaillard and his wife, Estelle Ellen. 

A U.S. Lighthouse Service grave marker was placed on each of their graves with a benediction by Rev. Todd Simonis, and a bugler from the U.S. Coast Guard played Taps. An honor guard of 20 men and women from the Coast Guard was on hand to honor Keeper Gaillard. 

Hunting Island State Park Manager JW Weatherford, FOHI Lighthouse Director Ted Panayotoff, FOHI Vice-President Ted Temple

A poster with a photo of Keeper Gaillard and his wife was on display, and Ted Panayotoff of the Friends of Hunting Island gave a summary of Keeper Gaillard’s Lighthouse Service and Coast Guard career. 

Two great-grandsons of Keeper Gaillard, Mark and Gary Gaillard, were guests at the ceremony.  The Hunting Island Lighthouse was deactivated in 1933 and is the only formerly-working lighthouse in South Carolina that is open to visitors.

The celebration continued on Saturday, Aug. 11, on Hunting Island with the Beaufort Harbormasters presenting a concert of maritime and traditional songs to honor and celebrate the history of the historic lighthouse.

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