Veronica Stanley, 61, lit up the floor with shag moves

Veronica Stanley never needed a reason to dance.

Whether she was in a dance hall or shopping mall, Mrs. Stanley would cut a rug to any tune.

"If it had a beat to it, she'd be juking down the halls," said Buddy Stanley, her husband of 15 years. "She had a rhythm that just wouldn't stop."

But Mrs. Stanley didn't just dance. She shagged. For 20 years, she bopped to the beat of the swing dance that began in the Carolinas in the 1940s.

"She was a natural-born dancer," Mr. Stanley said. "When she wanted to, she lit up the floor."

Mr. Stanley also shagged, which he called a smoother Georgia bop with lots of intricate turns.

The dancing duo married in 1994 during a Society of Stranders event, which typically draws up to 15,000 shaggers, he said. At least 1,000 shaggers — some clad in tuxedos, others in casual shag attire — packed a hotel in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for their wedding.

The Stanleys were active in ShagAtlanta, one of 100 such clubs nationwide, and attended hundreds of conventions throughout the Southeast.

Veronica Stanley, 61, of Lawrenceville died May 16 at home of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Funeral services will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at Blackshear Place Baptist Church in Oakwood. Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory is handling arrangements.

Her love for shagging wasn't just about the dance. Mrs. Stanley also relished the social interaction, son Heli Boullon said.

"It fit her personality perfectly because she was outgoing and such a people person," Mr. Boullon said.

Born in Valparaíso, Chile, Mrs. Stanley had dancing in her blood, he said. "She's Latin so she always had that Latin vibe."

A 1966 graduate of Grady High School, Mrs. Stanley worked for BellSouth for 30 years. Initially, she was climbing phone poles for the company.

"At that time, there weren't many line ladies," Mr. Stanley said. She settled into a customer service position later on in her career and retired five years ago.

Earline Downing was Mrs. Stanley's best friend and a fellow shagger. She remembers Mrs. Stanley as energetic and sweet, but with a wild side.

While dancing, Mrs. Stanley was known for unhooking the bra underneath her shirt, sliding it down her arm and slinging it around. "She was crazy," Ms. Downing chuckled.

And Mrs. Stanley had a penchant for playing pranks. Once, she spray-painted a tree frog red, placed it in a jewelry box filled with moss and presented it to Ms. Downing as a gift.

"We did tricks on each other all the time," Ms. Downing said. "We had such great times."

Mr. Stanley said his wife didn't have a bad bone in her body. "I think she's probably shagging where she is now," he said.

Additional survivors include son, Richard Boullon of Dacula; mother, Mercedes Mason of Lawrenceville; brother, Barry Watkins of Atlanta; and sister, Patty Wells of Savannah.