ASHEBORO — Once Bert Stone became involved in Archdale’s local government, her passion grew to such a level that it was hard for her to turn away.
“It has been a really good run,” she said. “That people thought so much of me means so much. I’m just plain old ‘Bert.’”
She held the title of Archdale’s mayor for more than 20 years, elected to a series of two-year terms. The past few weeks have been particularly rewarding, as many have acknowledged her commitment to the community.
Stone announced her retirement in late April. Her last day in the position was June 30. The city council appointed mayor pro tem Lewis Dorsett to fill out the remainder of Stone’s term. The first city council meeting with the change in leadership is scheduled for July 27.
Stone’s time in city government spanned nearly three decades. She spent eight years as a council member before the next step.
“I’ve been here ever since,” she said. “It has been good for me.”
Upon the retirement of J.J. Warren in 2000, the council selected Stone as mayor to finish the term. She became Archdale’s first female mayor.
Now 82, she said it felt like a good time to step away from that role.
“It’s just time,” she said. “Archdale is growing. There is a lot of things floating around.”
Given her longevity in the role, there were numerous special occasions and accomplishments while she was directly involved in the city’s government.
Some came with a personal connection for Stone.
She said the formation of Creekside Park was something dear to her heart. What began on 17 acres of donated land has grown to more than 100 acres, something she refers to as a “crown jewel” for the community.
She was instrumental in the park’s development after the death of her first husband, Bruce Lance.
“He always had a vision of a park,” Stone said.
There also was the building of a new city hall, a facility that has provided the community with the means to handle a variety of business.
Stone, whose real name is Bertha Anne, became simply known as “Bert” years ago. She moved from South Carolina (the Darlington and Florence area) to Archdale in the spring of 1969. Several weeks later, the community became incorporated in July of that year.
“I watched it grown from infancy,” Stone said.
She embraced the small-town feel that comes with living in Archdale. She said that could be a double-edged sword at times because pretty much all the residents know who she is.
Stone was married to her second husband, Joseph Stone, for 18 years. He died in 2012.
Randolph County commissioner Kenny Kidd said Stone oversaw an important cycle of activity in her community.
“In recent years the Archdale/Trinity corner of the county has certainly been one of the larger growing parts of our county,” Kidd said. “Under her watch, [the council] made sure we had some reasonable and responsible growth in that area.”
Kidd said from the county perspective that Stone served as an ideal role model as a leader. That’s reflected in Archdale.
“It’s a nice little gem for Randolph County,” Kidd said.
Stone said with the makeup of the council together for more than 15 years that the continuity had been good and there were strong working relationships formed.
Archdale’s territory is in Randolph County, with the exception of a small sliver in Guilford County.
“I had no idea I had such an impact on my community because I just felt I was doing the right things,” she said.