Deceit, Disappearance & Death on Hilton Head Island

Our newest book is at the printer in Grand Rapids, Michigan today. We should have the book on the market by February 22, 2018. This is the mystery of the decade that you have been waiting for. It is about the disappearance of John and Elizabeth Calvert on Hilton Head Island. They disappeared on March 3, 2008. Charlie Ryan and Pamela Martin Ovens collaborated on this book interviewing dozens of people. They obtained all the case files from the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office through the Freedom of Information Act. The results were stunning. Stay tuned. We will have the book for sale online and in stores very soon.

phone cover shot.JPG

A Fraser Forum October 16, 2017

Single Star Publishing is presenting a Fraser Forum at Coligny Theatre Monday, October 16, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Author Charlie Ryan will moderate a panel discussion with men from the book, My Life with Charles Fraser. This is a rare opportunity to meet the people who helped make our island what it is today. The panel includes Doug Corkern, Robert Graves, Ed Pinckney, JR Richardson, EG Robinson, Chuck Scarminach and more. Complimentary wine will be served before the event. Tickets are $5.00 at the door. This event is part of Crescendo by the Arts and Cultural Council of Hilton Head.


An interesting side note about this is that the Hilton Head Island Institute sold tickets for a “Chat with Charles Fraser”, a film that was to be a lead up to a panel discussion to be held at the Arts Center in 2013. The event was canceled because the Fraser family objected and lawyer, Chuck Scarminach stopped the performance. This time Mr. Scarminach is not only a chapter in the Fraser book, but is also part of the panel.

 Charles E. Fraser.

Charles E. Fraser.

Heritage Classic

This week is the Heritage Classic and our book, My Life with Charles Fraser, is so important to this event. We have several chapters devoted to golf, including one of the last interviews with Arnold Palmer. Arnie spoke with author, Charlie Ryan, about winning the first Heritage Classic and what he thought about the course.

After Hurricane Matthew

The last post about the Fraser Forum was interrupted by the arrival of Hurricane Matthew. When Charlie Ryan arrived, he was surprised at the number of people lined up at the Sea Pines Center. On closer inspection, he realized that people were lined up for fuel so that they could leave the island due to a coming hurricane. We had the forum and it was entertaining to the small crowd who braved it and stayed. Charlie moderated Don Peterson, Ed Pinckney, Peter Ovens and David Pearson. 

Peter and I stayed in our home on Hilton Head Island for the hurricane. We were visited by tornados during the storm and when our townhouse began to sway from side to side it was terrifying—at least to me it was! Peter was completely calm and entertained as he explained the house was built to do this. 

The morning after the storm we ventured outside to survey the damage. It was startling! We could not get out of our community due to the number of large yellow pines blocking our roads. 

We had no water or electricity, but we did have food. We began cleaning up our debris and sawing down small trees that had been crushed. After one day friends cut trees down so that we could venture out. We drove through Sea Pines Resort. It was devastating to see this place we had called home for so many years completely changes. The town suggests we lost over 150,000 trees including live oaks and pines. On the way home we noticed people gathering at Publix and discovered that they were open. We celebrated by purchasing a connector for our phones so that we could charge them while driving around. Wonderful to be connected to the outside world. AND the best part was that Publix had free HOT coffee. It was like heaven. We were thankful to have that and the next day we were even happier when we had water and electricity. I love electricity more than I can say. 

I will post a version of the Fraser Forum once it is edited. Now, I will post a photo of the aftermath of Matthew and one photo of our cats Rosencrantz and Guildenstern whom we tried to contain with little bars on their kitty door. It did not work. They made a break for it immediately, but we got them back in the room.

Felled Trees

Fraser Forum

We are having our first Fraser Forum with some of our "chapters" from the book, namely, Chuck Scarminach, Ed Pinckney, Don Peterson, Mark King, Bob Long, David Pearson and Peter Ovens.

Charlie Ryan will moderate this panel of amazing professionals who began their careers with Charles Fraser. 

The Event will take place at the Community Room at the Sea Pines Center on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public. We will enjoy a glass of bubbly and share stories about Charles Fraser. 

 Charles E. Fraser

Charles E. Fraser

Arnold Palmer left his legacy on this island.

Arnold Palmer died yesterday but he left a legacy on this island. He won the first Heritage Golf Tournament in November, 1969. The tournament was outstanding for many reasons, but one was that Pete Dye was nervous because the players were all saying the course was too difficult to win. Then Jim Colbert shot a 68 the first day and they knew it was playable. When Arnie won the tournament he said, "you have to walk single file on the course to avoid hitting a tree, but I like that because it reminds me of the courses in Latrobe, Pennsylvania that I played on growing up."

Book Signings for My Life with Charles Fraser

We have several great events in the coming months. I am listing them here but will update when we get closer to the dates. 

September 22, 2016 - Author, Charlie Ryan will speak to the Beaufort County Historical Society - at the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club. The event is free and open to the public. If you would like to join us for lunch that would be $10.00 at 11:30 with program to follow at noon. Reservations for lunch are necessary. Call Linda Hoffman at

November 12, 2016 - Heritage Library Book Fair. This is the second year for this outstanding event. It will be at the Christ Lutheran Church at 829 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island. The event will run from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

November 17, 2016 - The Hilton Head Rotary Club is hosting a talk by author, Charlie Ryan on My Life with Charles Fraser.

November 19, 2016 - Pretty Papers at the Village at Wexford will host a book signing with authors Charlie Ryan, David Pearson and Ed Morgret. They will be signing copies of their books and you will be able to meet them and buy their books in time of the holidays.

My Life with Charles Fraser

My Life with Charles Fraser

Written by Editor, Margaret Evans of Lowcountry Weekly

The life of Charles Fraser, the iconic developer of Sea Pines Plantation, Amelia Island, Kiawah and Palmas del Mar resorts, can only fully be told by following the stunning career paths of the young professionals he embraced and nurtured.

My Life with Charles Fraser by Hilton Head Island author Charlie Ryan and publisher Pamela Ovens is an important history of the young MBAs of the 1960s and 1970s that Charles Fraser recruited from Harvard, Yale, Wharton, the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Pennsylvania. The book records in lively manner their desire to lean and build on the shores of the Atlantic. Forsaking well-worn paths into finance and traditional real estate, they hitched their wagons to the unconventional dreams of Charles Fraser.

Over a period of a year and a half, author Ryan interviewed not only the MBAs who worked for Fraser, but an assortment of professionals working in architecture, literature, entertainment and retail development. In all, 42 individuals who worked with or were closely associated with Fraser told their stories.   Those interviewed remember Fraser and their time on Hilton Head as the bedrock of their careers—careers that have changed the face of real estate development and land management in the United States.

The book follows the newly minted MBAs and other close associates of Fraser as they arrived on the shores of an island known by only a few. They embraced Fraser’s insistence that man and nature could co-exist, and together they built a new model for seaside resorts—a model that was governed by land covenants that preserved beachfront property even as rows of homes with common beach access were built.

Ed Pinckney, a celebrated landscape architect of the Lowcountry, was drawn to Hilton Head by what he called Fraser’s “Oasis of contemporary architecture.” In the book, Pinckney remembers Fraser’s audacity: “Charles found a path through thick palmettos, pulled heavy foliage to the side, and allowed us to look over Calibogue Sound. He turned to us and said, ‘I’m going to build a town right there.’ And, by George, he did; he built Harbour Town in 1968-1969 right on that spot.”

In 1971 Peter Rummell was a young MBA from Wharton who saw genius in Charles Fraser. The Rummell chapter of My Life with Charles Fraser describes an adventurous time. “Fraser flew at 50,000 feet and God help you when he came in for a landing,” Rummell says. Rummell began his years with Fraser on what was then remote Hilton Head Island—he recalls that he saw “A half mile from the William Hilton Inn this guy plowing oceanfront real estate with a mule. I thought to myself, ‘You know, that’s not a good sign.’

Those who worked with Fraser saw him boldly and brashly chart new territory by building championship golf courses that created prime property throughout his Plantation—property that soared in value not because of its proximity to a beach but because it was snuggled into beautiful fairways and greens of a growing national sport. The innovations were radical in the 60s and so successful they were copied by most every other beach resort in the country.

Iconic golf course designers Pete and Alice Dye and golf legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus tell their stories in chapters devoted to Fraser’s prescience that golf would draw both visitors and those who wished to live on an island that offered a paradise of golf venues. Alice Dye reveals in the book that PGA Commissioner Joe Dey asked on the eve of the first Heritage Tournament that Pete assure him sand had been placed in the bunkers of the Harbour Town course for at least six months. “Pete said, ‘Sure, Joe.’ Well, we had not even built the bunkers, let alone put sand in them,” Alice said.

Phil Lader was a Fraser disciple who went on to a distinguished career in Washington and later became the Ambassador to the Court of St. James. In the book’s chapter dealing with Lader’s life with Charles, Lader recalls, “He could be irascible. Those of us who worked for him witnessed the limits of his patience, but also the twinkle in his eye.” Lader relates that, “Charles was a curious blend of erudition, abandon, tenacity, impatience, entrepreneurial nimbleness, and personal aloofness.”

The saga of Fraser is told abundantly and emotionally in My Life with Charles Fraser. Those who lived life with the truly exceptional visionary paint a vibrant portrait of the man that changed the world of resort living and carved for himself a place in the history of land management and environmental protection.

My Life with Charles Frasier is available at Island Bookstores and