Steve Hedberg leaves Richmond magazine after 16 years for a new creative role at the University of Virginia Alumni Association. (Photo by Jay Paul)
I don’t like the term “work husband” because the phrase doesn’t even begin to convey the trust and constant support that I have had from one person at Richmond magazine for 16 years, Steve Hedberg.
He’s the person whom I can text really late at night or obscenely early in the morning when I realize that something in a story needs to be changed or checked right before we go on press, no questions asked.
He’s the person who is always up for an adventure, whether it’s climbing the narrow metal stairs into the clock tower overlooking I-95 at Main Street Station with me or going up in a helicopter for a photo shoot. I think that’s how children of U.S. Foreign Service officers are wired, especially a child who was born in Pakistan and lived in Saudi Arabia and Liberia.
He’s the person who can always fix something, whether it’s a stuck cursor, a dead key fob or someone’s missing eyebrow with Photoshop precision. This is a guy who sawed his king-size box spring in half, got it up into his attic bedroom and then put it back together.
He’s the person for whom no art medium is off-limits. Clay diorama featuring reporter Mark Holmberg? Done it. Realistic painting? Sells it. Abstract painting? Sells it. Pancake-batter portraits? Still pouring them. (See Flip to the Back.)
Steve’s also been the guy who is always up for the crazy: a reality show-themed Best & Worst issue with him dressed as The Donald — he still has the toupee. A trip to the Final Four in Houston at which he had to be photographer and reporter. A December cover with no cover lines. (Maybe that was a bit of a mistake.)
While I can’t even remember the subject of one big disagreement we had (I’ll take a wild guess and say it was about stretching deadlines), I do remember the tears and that awful pit-in-your-stomach feeling that you get when you upset someone you care about deeply, and you know that nothing will feel right until you apologize.
I’ve attended Steve’s wedding, played a very tiny part in the adoption of his first child, lived on the same street in Forest Hill and attended his art openings. Three of his paintings hang in my home. He has made an indelible impression on my life.
Though he’ll leave our office March 1 for a new creative role at the University of Virginia’s Alumni Association, forever there will be a bag of kettle chips, an 8 ½ pizza and box of Lee’s chicken waiting any time he wants to visit.