NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — Robert “Chick” Hedrick’s life was a dance, and he lived it gracefully.
On Thursday, a memorial service will be held for the man responsible for bringing the Shaggers Hall of Fame to North Myrtle Beach and founding the Shaggers Hall of Fame Foundation. Hedrick, 85, died Sunday at Agape Hospice in Conway.
North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley said Hedrick was instrumental in starting the area’s spring and fall shag events, and continued to help out with them. The Shaggers Hall of Fame attracts thousands of visitors every year, she said.
“It’s a part of North Myrtle Beach and always will be a part of North Myrtle Beach,” Hatley said.
Hatley complimented Robert for keeping the shag dance alive, and always welcoming visitors who came to the area and enjoyed shagging.
“We’re just very sorry to lose Chick, but his legacy will live on,” she said.
Carolyn Hedrick remembered how her husband’s love of dance began. A native of High Point, N.C., she said Robert came down to Carolina Beach, N.C. – near Wilmington, N.C. – in the 1940s and got a job as a lifeguard. Dancing was a way of life there.
Eventually, Robert became the head lifeguard in Myrtle Beach, according to his wife. Nights were spent dancing at the Pavilion.
“People would come and watch them and throw money at them to put into the jukebox,” Carolyn Hedrick said.
Carolyn and Robert met following previous failed marriages. He told her he actually wasn’t looking for someone else. Life had other plans, and the two celebrated 29 years of marriage together.
“It’s just been a wonderful relationship,” Carolyn said. “He was my best friend.”
Carolyn was the love of his life, but the “shag” held a special place in his heart as well.
Toni Hedrick, Robert’s sister-in-law, remembers him teaching her a few steps when she and her late husband, Bobby, came to visit.
Toni said her husband was the opposite of Robert, because he didn’t dance at all. Two years ago, she vowed to give the shag another shot, and began taking lessons.
“He and Carolyn were so excited when I said, ‘I’m going to learn how to shag,’ ” Toni said.
Carolyn said she’ll always remember her husband’s kindness, patience and love for other people.
“He will truly be missed,” she said.
Contact BRAD DICKERSON at 626-0301.