Spencer businessman dies of heart attack

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
SPENCER ó A prominent Spencer businessman died early Monday after apparently suffering his second heart attack within a week.
Steve Waddell, 56, the owner of Two Worlds Apart, an auto parts store at the intersection of Salisbury Avenue and Fourth Street, died at his home.
Ken Womble, a Spencer alderman who is also a member of the Miller’s Ferry Fire Department and longtime friend of Waddell’s, said his emergency pager went off before 7 a.m. Monday.
The call for help was to Waddell’s house, which is on Leonard Road. The area is off Long Ferry Road, an area served by volunteers from the Miller’s Ferry Fire Department.
Womble said he and other emergency workers arrived quickly at Waddell’s house, but there was little they could do. Efforts to revive Waddell were for naught.
“When you try to save a friend’s life and you can’t, it’s rough,” Womble said.
He was having a hard time Monday afternoon dealing with his friend’s death.
“There was nothing we could do,” Womble said. “It’s a bad feeling.”
Womble said Waddell suffered a heart attack last Tuesday. Doctors inserted a stint in his heart and he responded well. Waddell was released from the hospital Friday.
Womble said he saw Waddell on Sunday. He said Waddell “looked good and said he felt fine.”
Waddell is survived by his wife, Margaret. The couple had no children, but Womble said the joke around town was that they had three boys ó Womble, Kevin Rainey and Mark Trexler.
The three younger men had been close friends of the Waddells for decades.
“All of us were into restoring cars,” Womble said.
Waddell was organizer of the Spencer Cruise-In, a monthly gathering of old car buffs held in downtown. He and his wife also attended most meetings of the Spencer Board of Aldermen, keeping an eye on the town’s happenings.
“He was opinionated, but you couldn’t help but like him,” Womble said. “He’d give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it.”
Two Worlds Apart is an auto parts store that for more than 20 years specialized in high-performance and after-market pieces. The building is across the street from the N.C. Transportation Museum.
Waddell prided himself on tracking down hard-to-find auto parts when others may have given up.
In a 2005 feature in the Post, Waddell said he’d grown up working on cars and could do just about anything to them.
“My customers trust me,” Waddell was quoted as saying. “They know I turn the wrenches.”
Womble said Waddell had worked on enough cars to have an understanding of almost any vehicle he was asked about.
“He didn’t have to go to a book to look up most parts,” Womble said. “He had it all in his head.”
Funeral plans at Summersett Funeral Home are incomplete.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.