February 25, 2013

Virgil Hedrick

Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Virgil Hedrick, 83, of Berea, Ky., and formerly of Laurel County, went to be with his Lord on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.

He was the eldest son of James (Jim) and Fannie Whitson Hedrick, born on Aug. 6, 1929, and, at the time of his death, was the oldest living Hedrick of his family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Doris Adams Johnson Hedrick; two sons, Ricky  D. Hedrick and Wayne Johnson; one sister, Bernadine Hedrick; and three brothers, Bill, Ben and Dick Hedrick.

Among those to mourn his death but celebrate his life are his wife, Joan Hedrick of Berea; two daughters, Sherri Hundley and husband Jeff of Lenoir City, Tenn., Rhonda House of Daytona Beach, Florida, and his adopted daughter, Hannah Hembree of Berea; six sons, Gary Hedrick and wife Paula, Jerry Michael House and wife Jo, and Philip Hedrick and wife Kim, all of London; Danny Johnson and wife Edie of Loveland, Ohio; Joe Hedrick and wife Dessie of Milford, Ohio; and Jerry Hedrick and wife Karen of Daytona Beach, Fla.

He also leaves behind two sisters, Alene Henderson of London and Charlotte Marcum and husband Conley of New Albany, Ind.; one brother, Stewart Hedrick and wife Cathy of Charlotte, N.C.; three sisters-in-law, Dessie Hedrick, Evelyn Hedrick, and Wilma Hedrick, all of London; 29 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, special friends Charles, Jimmie and Jack Miller, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and other loved ones.

Virgil left a multitude of memories for those who knew him. He worked as a carpenter, building houses, sanding floors and going to church. He formed the Hedrick Quartet with his brothers Bill and Ben and sister Bernadine as a teenager and the group was offered a contract to perform on a gospel singing show broadcast from Knoxville, Tenn., in the 1940s. Although that singing career did not pan out, Virgil continued his love for music throughout his life, even during his last moments when his family and closest friends gathered by his bedside and sang the songs he loved, with Virgil in his characteristic humorous way, holding up his fingers when the four-part harmony was off beat or off tune, and giving a ‘thumbs up’ as the voices blended together in harmony. He died peacefully, with his family and friends gathered around his bedside at Berea Hospital.

He was a member of the Psalmsmen Quartet in the 1970s, who recorded four gospel albums, was a long-time member of Sinking Creek Baptist Church before moving to Berea several years ago, and taught music and singing to his family and church family.

Virgil and his wife Doris once managed the Thunderbird Apartments in London, where Virgil did maintenance and grounds keeping. Once retired, he continued his hobby of building by constructing unique vehicles by connecting bicycles into a motorized cart, proudly showing off his creations to friends and family. He loved the outdoors and spent much time fishing and camping at the “mouth of Sinking” creek on the Rockcastle River.

Virgil always had a funny story to tell and a song to sing and the legacy he leaves behind is one of many cherished memories by those who knew and loved him.

Visitation for Virgil Hedrick will be after 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22 at London Funeral Home for the public and from 12 noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Sinking Creek Baptist Church, followed by the funeral service at 1 p.m.  with the Rev. Allen Livingood and Mike Seals will officiate.

Burial will follow in Dunn Cemetery in Laurel County.

London Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.