1933 – 2023
On October 2, 2023, Charles “Chic” Hedberg died peacefully at home at the age of 90.
Hedberg, the youngest of four, was born in Brooklyn on January 28, 1933 to Marie (Mueller) and J.O. Viking Hedberg. He attended Poly Prep in Brooklyn for high school and studied mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. He was a Naval aviator and flew submarine chasers (S2-F’s) off the USS Yorktown (CV-10) in the Pacific.
Hedberg’s family summered in Westhampton, where he met his future wife, Margareta “Greta” Johnson, as a teenager. He proposed to her on the beach at Dolphin Lane in East Quogue. They married in 1958 and headed to California, where he was stationed. Soon after, Greta became pregnant, and the young couple moved back east. Their first child, Victoria, was born in December 1958, and their son, Viking, in 1961.
Hedberg’s career included managing cooling systems for high energy physics research at Brookhaven National Laboratory and as a test engineer for Grumman Aerospace. However, his passion was the protection of the environment and social justice. His many efforts included protecting Long Island salt marshes, preventing offshore oil drilling, establishing recycling activities, supporting reproductive health rights and racial equity.
He found solace in the ocean and typically would swim daily from May through late October. With the wonderful support of the staff at Rogers Beach, he was able to swim through 2022. He was also an avid sailor and, in winter, could be found skating on local ponds or cross-country skiing.
Always restless, his “free time” was busy doing home improvements or landscaping projects. On retirement, he continued the property maintenance business that he had started with his son.
Sadly, his wife developed Alzheimer’s and he cared for her at home until her death in 2014. He was known throughout the community for his enduring love of his wife, for being spotted in his “rusty green truck,” his pilgrimages to Dolphin Lane and his passion for the ocean. Up until his mid-80s, he could be found on a roof cleaning out gutters or using his truck to move bushes. He lived independently until the age of 89 and with the support of family, friends, his church and wonderful group of caregivers, he was able to live out his life in his home.
Hedberg is survived by his daughter, Victoria Hedberg, and her partner, Karl, of Manor Park; his son, Viking Hedberg, and his wife, Katie, of Plymouth, NH; his granddaughters, Laura Ceruti and her partner, Tim, and Carolyn Ceruti and her partner, Justin, all of Eastport; and his grandsons, Andrew Hedberg and his wife, Dana, of Wakefield, Mass., and Woodrow Hedberg and his wife, Jacqueline, of Wilmington, Mass. He has three great grandchildren, Alex, Anthony and Adrianna.
Calling hours were held at Werner-Rothwell Funeral Home in Westhampton Beach on Saturday, October 28, and a celebration of his life was held at the Westhampton Presbyterian Church on Sunday, October 29.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge would be appreciated.