I was reading the South Carolina Vitals website and found the following clause regarding availability of death certificates:
Death records become public records after fifty (50) years and then any person may obtain certified copies. Deaths for 1915-1949 are available for public reviewing at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 8301 Parklane Road, Columbia, South Carolina 29223. Access to a microfiche index and microfilm of these deaths are available at the Archives' Reference Room. No appointment is needed and there is no charge for viewing the records. If copies are needed, a work order provided at the Reference Room must be completed. The Reference Room staff will provide information about charges for copies and schedule for receiving copies. Self-service copying is available. Inquiries must be made in person or by telephone. The Reference Room is open Tuesday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. The Reference Room is closed on Mondays. For additional information, telephone (803) 896-6104.
I haven't tried this yet, but it gives me more hope for the search than I had before.