Patricia "Pat" Bedore, former Greater Albany Public Schools Superintendent, passed away on Oct. 22.
Her friend Helen Burns Sharp received a call on Tuesday from a mutual friend, telling her the news.
“It’s hit several of us like a ton of bricks,” Burns Sharp said. “You can say this about almost everyone who passes away, but it really applies to a few people and it applies to her: It doesn’t seem fair that someone who was so good at living didn’t get to do it longer.”
Bedore, 70, served as the superintendent of Greater Albany Public Schools for eight years, first as the interim superintendent in 2000 and then as the full-time district leader in 2001. During her GAPS tenure, which ended with her 2008 retirement, Bedore navigated the district through a bond campaign that saw $55 million approved by voters in 2006.
Prior to her time as superintendent, Bedore taught in Junction City for 15 years and served as a building principal before becoming an assistant superintendent in the Springfield School District. Her career in education spanned 37 years.
“Greater Albany Public Schools mourns the loss of Pat Bedore and our thoughts are with Pat’s family and friends during this difficult time,” current Superintendent Melissa Goff said. “I appreciate all the hard work Pat put in building our school district during her tenure and the professional and positive manner in which she served our community.”
Randy Lary, human resources director for GAPS, remembered Bedore as a constant support. Lary served as principal at Memorial Middle School before Bedore encouraged his move to North Albany Middle School.
“She was always upbeat,” he said. “She always had a smiled on her face.”
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When Burns Sharp met Bedore in 2003, she had made a lifetime friend.
“I was the community development manager for the city of Albany and we had mutual friends who couldn’t believe we hadn’t met,” she said. Burns Sharp has since moved back to Tennessee, but her friendship with Bedore endured. “She came here to Tennessee to visit me two or three times. When I met her, I was impressed with her dedication and intensity. Personally, she was the complete package. To know Pat was to know the twinkle in her eye.”
West Albany High School Principal Susie Orsborn met Bedore when Bedore hired her for the position. Orsborn described her as steadfast and a great leader.
“She really took care of her people,” she said.
It was a phone call that connected Martha Wells, former Democrat-Herald publisher, to Bedore.
“It was a professional courtesy call that turned into a friendship,” she said, noting that Bedore was a loyal friend and made friends easily. “ It probably worked that was with everyone.”
Maria Delapoer stepped into Bedore's shoes as superintendent in 2008.
"Pat was a rare combination of intelligence, kindness, passion and humor. She used these skills to engage other community leaders in support of the school district," Delapoer said. "I and many other current and past employees of the district owe Pat a debt of gratitude for her encouragement and support. Pat was mentor, role model and close personal friend. I already miss her terribly."
A private family remembrance for Bedore will be held at a later date.