Beaufort remembers long-time state representative

Harriet Keyserling
Harriet Keyserling

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - Over the years, Harriet Keyserling made quite a name for herself. She's the first woman to serve on the Beaufort County Council and the first woman from the county to be elected to the South Carolina Legislature.

"She was small in stature and huge in heart and huge in brain, huge in passion, had an incredible sense for what is right and wrong and trying to make the world a better place for all of us," said Billy Keyserling, Keyserling's son and Beaufort's Mayor.

"She was a real leader, a trail blazer as she's been called but a person of deep convictions," said Bud Ferillo, family friend. "She loved her family and the community."

Ferillo and her son helped nudge her into state politics.

"She felt so strongly about issues at that time public education and nuclear waste, she felt once the kids all of us had gone away that it was time to step up to the plate and she did so very reluctantly, first because of her shyness," said Mayor Keyserling.

Many will tell you, Keyserling wasn't afraid of hard work. She served for 16 years in the State House from 1977 to 1993.

"She was an advocate for education, conservation, ethics in government, ridding the state of nuclear waste, women's issues, a real giant in those areas but if you want to give her credit for one thing, it's shutting down the filibuster in the South Carolina legislature," said Ferillo.

Keyserling was 88.

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.