Bledsoe celebrates coming retirement


By Wendy Byerly Wood - [email protected]



Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, back row, center, is surrounded by his family who came from near and far to celebrate his retirement Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, kneeling, is surrounded by his family who came from near and far to celebrate his retirement Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, background, right of center, introduces incoming interim superintendent, Dr. Don Martin, to his family members at Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Everette and Ann Miller entertain Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe and his family and friends with songs written for him during his retirement celebration Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin. Everette is Bledsoe’s cousin.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Dr. Jason Couch, center, visits with Marion Venable, left, who grew up in Siloam with Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, and Yvonne Hodges, Bledsoe’s neighbor in Elkin, during a retirement celebration in honor of Bledsoe Tuesday at Fairfield Inn.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Board of Education Chairman Dr. Richard Brinegar says a couple of words and introduces surprise entertainment during Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

As Everette and Ann Miller entertain the crowd for Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledseo’s retirement celebration, Ann puts in a plug in one of her songs about school board attorney, Fred Johnson, right, who gets a laugh out of it along with Surry County Commissioners Buck Golding, left, and Eddie Harris.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe is greeted by school board member Dr. Jane Riley, center, and ARK Executive Director Cynthia Cothren during his retirement celebration Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe hugs his cousin, Everette Miller, after Miller and wife Ann entertained with personalized songs during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe is greeted by cousin Everette Miller, left, and Myra Cook, president of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, during his retirement celebration Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe and wife, Steva, visit with Paul Hammes, left, CEO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, and Terry Darnell, second from left, during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, second from left, visits with Surry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves, left, Ben Mastin, one of the owners of Fairfield Inn, and Dr. Todd Martin, Yadkin County Schools superintendent, during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe shares thanks with the family, friends and community members who gathered for his retirement celebration Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe gets in a laugh as Everette and Ann Miller entertain with personalized songs during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The retirement celebrations have been ongoing this week for Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, who was surprised Monday morning with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest honor, and then with ice cream parties at schools all day, followed by a retirement reception for family, friends and community members Tuesday evening.

Those attending his celebration Tuesday at Fairfield Inn, which was catered by Heaven’s Scent and Mazzini’s, had nothing but great things to say about Bledsoe and his dedication to education and the community during his 38 years as an educators, serving in roles from teacher, coach and administrator and ending as superintendent.

“We grew up together in Siloam Methodist Church,” said Marion Venable, who heads the Surry Community College Foundation. “I admire him because of his accomplishments, his commitment to the community. Although he’s in the education field, he has given of his time and talents to the community.”

She said Bledsoe has served as a lay speaker for the Yadkin Valley district of the Methodist Church.

“He comes from parents who were the best neighbors, were community-minded and served as Ruritans, and Randy has continued that tradition,” Venable said.

Neighbor Yvonne Hodges said she admires Bledsoe’s hard work. “He’s a farmer, and I’m a farmer,” she said of both of them growing up on a farm.

Hodges said Bledsoe and his wife, Steva, are “very good neighbors” and she spoke of the beautiful flowers and decor they maintain.

“Dr. Bledsoe is a wonderful man,” said board of education Chairman Dr. Richard Brinegar. “He helped me on the school board and educated me. What an impact, influence he’s had on the community.”

During the celebration, Bledsoe’s cousin, Everette Miller and his wife, Ann, entertained the crowd with special songs Ann had personalized to fit Bledsoe and his retirement. Some had those in attendance laughing, while others were more reflective.

“It comes full circle for me,” said Bledsoe as he took the opportunity to share a few words with his friends and family.

He said Elkin helped keep his parents employed and making money which sent him to school, and now he is back in Elkin. “I hope what Elkin helped do for me, my term of eight years I’ve helped Elkin,” Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe thanked the members of the original school board who hired him and “allowing a high school principal to come here to be a superintendent.”

“I never dreamed 42 years ago I’d be able to go on the journeys I’ve gone on and end up in Surry County near home,” he said. “The greatest thing I can say is when the board of education hired me, they inherited a hardworking lady in Steva. My success is probably more because of her and all the people she knows.

“I love what I do and going to school. I’ve answered a bell for 54 years,” he said, realizing that after the end of June, he won’t be answering a bell anymore.

“The great thing I have is a support system in place in my family, my coworkers, my friends,” said Bledsoe.

“I love Elkin City Schools. Every day was a great day to be a Buckin’ Elk.”

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, back row, center, is surrounded by his family who came from near and far to celebrate his retirement Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0503.jpgElkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, back row, center, is surrounded by his family who came from near and far to celebrate his retirement Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, kneeling, is surrounded by his family who came from near and far to celebrate his retirement Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0505.jpgElkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, kneeling, is surrounded by his family who came from near and far to celebrate his retirement Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, background, right of center, introduces incoming interim superintendent, Dr. Don Martin, to his family members at Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0476.jpgElkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, background, right of center, introduces incoming interim superintendent, Dr. Don Martin, to his family members at Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Everette and Ann Miller entertain Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe and his family and friends with songs written for him during his retirement celebration Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin. Everette is Bledsoe’s cousin.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0478.jpgEverette and Ann Miller entertain Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe and his family and friends with songs written for him during his retirement celebration Tuesday at Fairfield Inn in Elkin. Everette is Bledsoe’s cousin. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Dr. Jason Couch, center, visits with Marion Venable, left, who grew up in Siloam with Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, and Yvonne Hodges, Bledsoe’s neighbor in Elkin, during a retirement celebration in honor of Bledsoe Tuesday at Fairfield Inn.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0471.jpgDr. Jason Couch, center, visits with Marion Venable, left, who grew up in Siloam with Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, and Yvonne Hodges, Bledsoe’s neighbor in Elkin, during a retirement celebration in honor of Bledsoe Tuesday at Fairfield Inn. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Board of Education Chairman Dr. Richard Brinegar says a couple of words and introduces surprise entertainment during Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0477.jpgElkin City Schools Board of Education Chairman Dr. Richard Brinegar says a couple of words and introduces surprise entertainment during Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

As Everette and Ann Miller entertain the crowd for Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledseo’s retirement celebration, Ann puts in a plug in one of her songs about school board attorney, Fred Johnson, right, who gets a laugh out of it along with Surry County Commissioners Buck Golding, left, and Eddie Harris.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0490.jpgAs Everette and Ann Miller entertain the crowd for Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledseo’s retirement celebration, Ann puts in a plug in one of her songs about school board attorney, Fred Johnson, right, who gets a laugh out of it along with Surry County Commissioners Buck Golding, left, and Eddie Harris. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe is greeted by school board member Dr. Jane Riley, center, and ARK Executive Director Cynthia Cothren during his retirement celebration Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0467.jpgElkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe is greeted by school board member Dr. Jane Riley, center, and ARK Executive Director Cynthia Cothren during his retirement celebration Tuesday. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe hugs his cousin, Everette Miller, after Miller and wife Ann entertained with personalized songs during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0501.jpgElkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe hugs his cousin, Everette Miller, after Miller and wife Ann entertained with personalized songs during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe is greeted by cousin Everette Miller, left, and Myra Cook, president of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, during his retirement celebration Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0502.jpgElkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe is greeted by cousin Everette Miller, left, and Myra Cook, president of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, during his retirement celebration Tuesday. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe and wife, Steva, visit with Paul Hammes, left, CEO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, and Terry Darnell, second from left, during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0461.jpgElkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe and wife, Steva, visit with Paul Hammes, left, CEO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, and Terry Darnell, second from left, during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, second from left, visits with Surry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves, left, Ben Mastin, one of the owners of Fairfield Inn, and Dr. Todd Martin, Yadkin County Schools superintendent, during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0459.jpgElkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, second from left, visits with Surry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves, left, Ben Mastin, one of the owners of Fairfield Inn, and Dr. Todd Martin, Yadkin County Schools superintendent, during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe shares thanks with the family, friends and community members who gathered for his retirement celebration Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0494.jpgElkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe shares thanks with the family, friends and community members who gathered for his retirement celebration Tuesday. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe gets in a laugh as Everette and Ann Miller entertain with personalized songs during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0487.jpgElkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe gets in a laugh as Everette and Ann Miller entertain with personalized songs during Bledsoe’s retirement celebration Tuesday. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

By Wendy Byerly Wood

[email protected]

Elkin Tribune
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