CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A beloved Lowcountry band director is being remembered by his students and colleagues.
Eddie Shealy passed away to liver cancer on Tuesday, he was 58 years old according to his friend.
He was the band director at West Ashley High School for more than 20 years before retiring in 2014.
He also taught at Middleton High School and he was part of the South Carolina Band Directors Association.
Hanahan High band student Andi Maples was one of his current students.
"How do you describe Mr. Shealy? He was very sassy, and he was just a great role model and a great person with a good heart and you could tell that just from talking to him," Maples said.
Maples had the honor of meeting Shealy after his retirement in 2014.
After retiring, Shealy didn't stop.
He helped out with the band and color guard programs at other schools including Stratford High and then Hanahan High.
"He was always here and I think that fed into us, it really did," Maples said. "Even this year during band camp he was very ill and going through chemo treatments but he was still here."
It's that dedication that sticks with those who knew him.
Berkeley County School District officials say Shealy was not employed by the high school, but he was a very important member of the Hanahan family and served as assistant band director for a few years at the school.
Kevin Lakin was friends with Shealy for more than 20 years, and said he loved to make people smile.
"He taught me the biggest lesson that I still use in the job I have today as an administrator is you have to consider what's going on at home, you have to consider that not all students have the same background," Lakin said.
Shealy started off as Lakin's mentor during college while he was a student at Charleston Southern University.
They later became colleagues at West Ashley High School where they both taught band students.
"He led them with tough love he taught them to have passion for their music and be excellent all the time, but he also showed them that he's there for them whenever they need it," Lakin said.
Maples says he was like a grandfather to his students.
"It just felt like we had lost a family member," Maples said.
And now Maples has hopes of becoming a band director too.
"If I could have half the impact that he's had on people's lives, I will be content," Maples said.
Shealy has worked with thousands of students across the state and beyond.
He also started a music program at West Ashley High School for students with disabilities.