How many times did Charles Beddingfield leave his bed in the middle of the night, drive downtown and open his store to get a sick child medicine? How many times did he deliver some medicine on his way home and know he would never see a dime for it?
Charles H. “Teddy” Beddingfield Jr. was a gentle giant in too many ways to describe. He was a consummate professional in his field of pharmacy. He was old school. He took care of people, night and day. He listened. He laughed. He gave back more than he ever took. He touched the lives of thousands – mill workers, state employees, teachers and tobacco farmers.
The people of Clayton knew they could depend on Teddy Beddingfield.
Mr. Beddingfield was a true pillar in the Clayton community.
You could find him quietly standing behind the counter – mild mannered; he enjoyed a good joke, had a quick wit and never lost an opportunity to pull for the Tar Heels. Perhaps his arch nemesis in the ongoing collegiate rivalry was John Battle Robertson, who, with his brother Sam, owned and operated Robertson’s Mule Stables.
There were many mornings when one or the other would have a nice funeral arrangement on the front stoop following a big Carolina or Duke victory.
Mr. Beddingfield was a giver to Clayton. He and Elton Pittman, Jack Cooper, Ted Eason, Swade Barbour, James Cash, Tom Bass, Doug McCormick and Alan Stewart were the “movers and shakers” for downtown Clayton in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. He was a multi-year chairman for the Clayton Chamber of Commerce; a generous donor to local schools, civic groups and churches; former president of the Soybean Festival; and even a former Miss Clayton Catastrophe, doing drag pageant with other leading gentlemen to raise money for the Clayton Parent Teacher Association.
He loved his church, his family, the beach and his work. And Clayton loved him.
Time and time again, they called on him, in the middle of the night, to serve as a pallbearer at a funeral, to promote the downtown merchants, to take care of the sick and elderly.
In a very special way, Mr. Beddingfield touched the lives of many, he helped to shape what Clayton is today, and he has left a mark that will never be forgotten. Clayton will miss such a great man.
Brad Crone is the former editor and publisher of The Clayton Star; he is now president of a Raleigh public relations firm.