July 13, 2024

This Week in Amateur Radio

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Marvin "Jim Tom" Hedrick

TV Moonshiner Marvin “Jim Tom” Hedrick KS4YD, SK

Marvin “Jim Tom” Hedrick, who had become a regular on the Discovery Channel show “Moonshiners” passed away at the age of 82 in Robbinsville, NC. He had been in poor health in recent month, and TMZ is reporting he was suffering from kidney cancer based on social media postings from relatives.

“Moonshiners” depicted outlaw distilling of spirits centered primarily in the Appalachian regions of Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Jim Tom (as he was known on the show) was a wiley veteran Moonshiner and was known on the show for his singing and telling stories and was often aiding other “Shiners” in the distillation process in woodland areas of the Carolina mountains.

The Sugarlands Distilling Company produced several recipes of Moonshine based on the characters from the Discovery Channel show and Jim Tom’s Rye Whiskey was a popular option from the Distillery.

He first debuted on the show’s second season in November 2012. He was a regular for over 5 years before leaving the show in 2017. He’s also recorded a few songs and was shown discussing his ham radio interests during a few segments of the show.

On their Facebook page, Sugarlands broke the sad news, stating:

It’s with heavy hearts we say goodbye to our dear friend Marvin “Jim Tom” Hedrick. Born Christmas Day, 1940, Jim Tom dedicated much of his life to the art of moonshining, becoming a legend in Appalachia along the way. Jim Tom’s well-earned reputation as one of the most skilled moonshiners in the South earned him a role on the hit television program Moonshiners, where his colorful personality endeared Jim Tom to the hearts of millions.

Jim Tom touched the lives of countless individuals and was especially eager to pass along his lifetime of moonshining knowledge to a new generation of distillers, ensuring the craft would endure.


He was in a nursing home in Robbinsville for the past year.