Scott Capen Shaffer

Published 5:15 pm Friday, February 2, 2024

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Scott Capen Shaffer was a man of faith, compassion, humor and integrity who committed his life to helping others and to making memories with his family. He was born on February 15, 1943, in Tryon, NC to Roger Augustus Shaffer and Jane Harwood Shaffer. He spent his childhood honing mischief and wonder in the North Carolina mountains.


Scott’s formal education began in the Tryon public schools and progressed to Christ School in Arden, NC. Upon graduation, he went to Williams College and transferred to Emory University where he stayed to pursue his graduate studies in clinical psychology. Learning through life experiences mattered to Scott who worked on a fruit farm and as a nanny, swim coach, and repo man in the midst of his schooling. He made close, lifelong friends at every turn; from Emory, Scott was proud to say he earned three degrees and his wife, Lee.


During graduate school, Scott enlisted in the US Navy. Upon receiving his PhD, he went on active duty and was assigned to Parris Island, SC to evaluate Marines– recruits and those returning from combat in Vietnam. He was a staunch advocate for their fair treatment. While there, he recognized the dearth of mental health support for military families and offered his expertise to the local military schools. After Scott’s discharge, the Shaffer’s remained in Beaufort where he established the first child psychology practice in the area.  Children and families benefited from his care for nearly fifty years.


Scott’s service extended beyond his practice. Post Navy, he continued consultation in Laurel Bay schools where teachers called him “the miracle worker.” Through this work, the need for speech and language services became apparent whereupon he helped establish Beaufort County’s Speech and Hearing Clinic. Scott further aided the under-served by conducting disability evaluations through the Beaufort County Vocational Rehabilitation Center. Beaufort Memorial Hospital awarded Scott staff privileges to provide mental health consultations in the interest of improving patient care. Additionally, Scott volunteered for numerous community organizations: the Caroline Hospice Foundation, multiple PTOs, Rotary, and the Democratic Party. Scott was a lay leader in the Episcopal Church – first at Holy Cross in Tryon, NC then at St. Helena’s in Beaufort, SC and ultimately co-founded St. Mark’s in Port Royal. Promoting the ideals of love, inclusion, and equity was paramount to Scott.


Scott’s influence spread beyond Beaufort County. He was active in the Diocese of South Carolina, led the South Carolina Psychological Association, was an examiner for the American Board of Professional Psychology, coached Rotary scholarship applicants, hosted Rotary exchanges, and served as a state delegate for the Democratic Party.


The mischief and wonder nurtured in the mountains of Scott’s childhood carried to life in the South Carolina Lowcountry and then Charlotte, NC. Scott delighted in driving his convertible in town parades and filling his home with garden roses. He loved fishing, swimming in the ocean, dancing, walking on the beach, traveling with his family, floating on the river, and watching sunsets with Lee. In Charlotte, his favorite pastimes were watching hummingbirds, herons, and hawks from his patio; playing in a drum circle; cheering for Vanderbilt and the Carolina Panthers; and attending gatherings at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.


Scott died as he lived, steadfast in his faith and surrounded by his family, on January 6, 2024. In death, he precedes his wife of 55 years, Lee Paulk Shaffer with their Maltipoo, Luna; Laura Shaffer and Amit Shahane; and Jane Shaffer and Walker Davidson. Services will be held February 17, 2024, 11 a.m., at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Port Royal, SC and March 2, 2024, 11 a.m., at Holy Cross in Tryon, NC. In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Friends of Caroline Hospice, CAPA, Coastal Conservation League, the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund, or a charity of your choice.


Laura Shaffer