David Lauderdale

‘Forever grateful’: Beaufort’s beloved Bobbi Aimar dies unexpectedly while serving others

Barbara “Bobbi” Aimar
Barbara “Bobbi” Aimar Submitted

Pat Conroy called Bobbi Aimar “the finest specimen of young female adorning the youngest of the classes” in their 1963 Beaufort High School yearbook.

And when Barbara “Bobbi” Aimar died unexpectedly Tuesday morning at age 71, she was immediately being remembered as the finest specimen of humankind.

Aimar was at work, managing the CAPA’s Closet Thrift Store, when she apparently had a heart attack.

Christina Wilson, executive director of CAPA, the Child Abuse Prevention Association that benefits from the thrift shop, said Aimar’s loss reaches beyond the nonprofit organization.

“There is no measuring the untold thousands and thousands of lives she changed through her work,” Wilson said. “We will forever be grateful for her service and friendship.

“She gave to this organization and to these kids everything she had.”

Wilson credits the thrift store’s success to Aimar.

“Bobbi was the first smiling face you saw at CAPA’s Closet. She loved her work and selling treasures to help benefit child victims, and that was so evident every single day,” she said. “The store is a success because of her leadership and heart. We are going to desperately miss her. We already do.”

One of her closest friends, Norma Duncan, said, “When the CAPA Thrift Store needed turning around, I told them Bobbi was the woman for the job; and she was. Look at it today.”

Aimar worked at the CAPA thrift store as its manager since 2009, after serving as a board member.

The Rotary Club of Beaufort named her Employee of the Year for 2019. Always with her in the store was her beloved springer spaniel, Nikko.

“I have known Bobbi’s family forever,” Duncan said. “We grew up together. We worked together at so many places: Medical Specialists, the Spotted Dog, Beaufort Inn, and of course, CAPA. We traveled together and were the best of friends in so many ways. Bobbi’s home was always warm and welcoming. She was so very hospitable. I am going to miss her and her smile so very much.”

It’s an especially hard blow at CAPA because Aimar’s daughter, Charmian Hedrick of Hilton Head Island, her self-proclaimed greatest accomplishment, is director of operations.

Aimar grew up in the Old Point neighborhood as the eldest of four children of William Washington Aimar Jr. and Pearle Blocker Aimar, and kin to community leaders Charles S. Aimar Sr. and Neal Aimar.

She was Miss Freshman at Beaufort High School, where she caught the eye of senior and future best-selling author Pat Conroy. She also was Miss Beaufort Junior Miss.

She left Beaufort as a Marine spouse, living in North Carolina, Florida, Japan before returning to Beaufort in the early 1980s. She was divorced, and traveled to France, the Philippines, Germany and Korea, but insisted she never wanted to leave Beaufort and said this was and always would be her home.

Aimar owned or co-owned several businesses in town, including the Country Cousins gift store with her Aimar cousins, and Cooking Connection downtown.

“She was a devout, quintessential Christian woman and lifelong Presbyterian and founding member of First Scots Presbyterian Church and was so excited to see its new sanctuary coming to fruition,” Wilson said.

She was a lifelong and devoted Republican, and also loved gardening, birds, bridge and cooking for others.

“She taught many of us the sensibilities of being a good Southern lady and reminded us often,” Wilson said.

Aimar had lived with her only sister, Cynthia Ann Aimar, for over three decades in Pigeon Point. Her two brothers are Bill Aimar III and Allen Aimar.

CAPA’s Closet Thrift Store will be closed in Aimar’s memory through Friday. The store will reopen Saturday, July 20.

The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at The Parish Church of St. Helena, conducted by Pastor Alex Mark of First Scots Presbyterian. Burial will follow in the St. Helena Parish cemetery.

Copeland Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.

Senior editor David Lauderdale has been a Lowcountry journalist for more than 40 years. He oversees the editorial page, writes opinion, and tells the stories of our community. His columns have twice won McClatchy’s President’s Award. He grew up in Atlanta, but Hilton Head Island is home.
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