Dick Hagood seems to live a double life between the disciplined and the unpredictable. A regimented former Marine and accountant, he chucked it all at the ripe old age of 38, escaped the fast-paced city life and shortly afterward married his former co-worker Laurie Wickham.
The Miami Sport Fishing Club brought Dick down to Islamorada to fish competitively in the region called the Sport Fishing Capital of the World. So far, the native South Floridian and art enthusiast has remained for just under 30 years.
Dick and his wife, hired by one of his fishing club buddies in 1983 for $1,000 a month, made their break from the city to manage El Capitan Resort, a small oceanside property in Islamorada that is now part of the Postcard Inn Resort.
They managed El Capitan until it was sold in 1990, completely revamping the small 10-unit property during their tenure. In addition, Dick began working as a fishing guide.
“I have no artistic talent and neither does my wife,” Dick admitted. “But we love art, so we thought the next best thing would be to represent artists.”
Following the sale of the resort, the couple had the opportunity to pursue their true passions. Dick worked as a fishing guide and Laurie opened Gallery Morada in 1996. Two years ago, the gallery was named one of the top 10 in the country for craft art.
Laurie’s longtime love of art rubbed off on her husband when she opened her gallery, and the couple began attending art shows and building relationships with artists.
“I just become enthralled with how these people can create things,” Dick explained. “Since I’m not an artist myself, I’ve always really admired people who have those talents. Laurie and I consider ourselves advocates and supporters of art.”
The couple and local artist Pasta Pantaleo were instrumental in establishing the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District — and organizing its first Third Thursday Walkabout in January 2011. The district was officially founded the following month with the goal of bringing nightlife to the Islamorada area.
The Morada Way Arts & Cultural District has significantly enhanced the Islamorada community by giving the area’s creative talent a wide audience, providing exposure for and economically stimulating local businesses, and working with local schools to create opportunities for students to develop and express their interest in the arts.
Now 65 years old and a grandfather, Dick Hagood remains passionate about his duties with the district and oversees all its business and organizational aspects. With the Third Thursday Walkabouts securely established, he continues to seek new opportunities to benefit the community and support the arts.
In addition, he’s frequently busy guiding. When he’s not working, however, Dick can be found enjoying the arts or spending time with his family — especially his granddaughter Windley, who was named for Windley Key where her mother and father met.
“We always say we love the Keys so much that we named our granddaughter after them,” he quipped.