She was a South Carolina beauty, a native Charlestonian and, above all, a dedicated person with a positive outlook.

Hedy B. Foster of Charlotte died October 21, 2011, at Carolinas Medical Center. She was 65 and died of brain cancer.

She retired from Mecklenburg County as director for the Center of Human Development. During her 32 years with the department, “She wore many hats,” said coworker Paula Cox.

Terry Huntley, another coworker said, “I considered her a great friend and leader, but more importantly an extraordinary person who was wise, an encouragement to others and a lady of deep faith whose smile could just say it all.”

A great supervisor

Linda Newkirk said, “Hedy gave me my first real job out of college. She was a wonderful person and a great supervisor, as well as a role model.”

Hedy graduated from C.A. Brown High School in Charleston and wrote the new school’s alma mater. While there, she met William Foster, who would later become a most important part of her life.

Gayle Crawford, a friend since age 17 said, “She always had a positive solution to an issue. She always came up with positive sayings, and her office walls and her computer were covered with positive notes.”

Hedy and Gayle attended Johnson C. Smith University together, where Hedy graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and had been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She earned her Master’s degree in education at North Carolina Central University in Durham and did further studies at the University of Alabama.

She met Milledge Brodie III at Johnson C. Smith, and they married soon after graduation. They were blessed with son Milledge IV and daughter Tracee. Sadly, Hedy was left to raise their small children alone when her husband was stricken by a heart attack.

Hedy worked for a time as an Eastern Airlines reservationist and later taught in Charlotte schools and at Winthrop University before beginning her career with Mecklenburg County.

She reconnected with her old high school friend, William Foster, and when they married in 1992, she gained daughter Stacey Foster. There were no stepchildren in the family, William said. All the children belonged to both of them.

Positive attitude

“My wife helped a lot of people; she inspired them with her positive attitude about life.” William said. “She was an avid reader and wanted to write a book if she survived.”

The couple loved to travel and was getting passports to go to the next Olympic games. They regularly visited family in Denver, Detroit and Baltimore and loved spending time in Florida.

“She had her own business that specialized in health products,” William said. One facet of her business was to recruit others to sell the products, and Sheldon “Skip” Shipman was one she contacted.

“I was impressed with her knowledge and past history,” said the UNC Charlotte 1970s basketball standout. “She was very impressive.”

Friend Gayle said, “She was outgoing and had a beautiful smile. She never saw anything bad, but always something positive.”

That was Hedy, always smiling, always positive and will always be missed.


Editor’s note: This is our series called Lives That Matter. Written by Charlotte writer Gerry Hostetler, this weekly feature will profile individuals, recently deceased, who had a positive impact on those around them. Email

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