I've lost another friend.
Bobby Stevens, of Thomson, who served as senior radio operator for the Georgia State Patrol Post in Thomson, died recently.
Bobby, as I called him, was always a very proud man. He was proud of the fact that his "Daddy", the late Robert L. Stevens, was chief judge of the Toombs Judicial Circuit. He was so proud of that fact that he often mentioned it to others - either in person or over the telephone.
He also was proud of his affiliation with the Georgia State Patrol. Indeed, he must have been, for it was a job he did for 34 years.
Many state troopers were taught the ropes behind the microphone by Bobby, who was always nice and had such a pleasant voice - whether behind the microphone or speaking to someone over the telephone.
Having known him for many, many years, I can still hear his voice.
Bobby loved his job and was highly dedicated to it. He rarely missed a day. And when he did, you knew he was really sick - not like some of the people who call in sick today, just so they can get the day off.
I'll never forget how nice he always treated me as a reporter. Sometimes, I'd drop by the post to look at wreck reports, if I happened to be visiting my parents and other relatives in Thomson on weekends during my younger days as a reporter. Since I covered court stories, too, I knew his Daddy, as he always referred to him, as well as his Mother, so we'd talk about how they were doing and what they had been up to of late.
I recall even doing a feature story on Bobby when I first began in this business - way back when I worked as staff reporter for The Warrenton Clipper.
He retired several years ago from the job he loved so much and devoted most of his time to his family.
Just before he died, I waved at him as he was passing through the traffic signal at West Hill and Jackson streets in Thomson. It was the last time that I saw my friend alive.
Sgt. Perry Hobbs, a former deputy with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department, who later joined the Georgia State Patrol, remembered being taught radio operations by Bobby when the two of us talked in the kitchen at the post about our mutual friend.
"He was a very likable person, an easy kind of person to talk to about different things," recalled Sgt. Hobbs, who joined the state patrol in 1989 after four years with the sheriff's department. "He had real good people skills."
My friend, Bobby, you will be missed by all of us who knew you, respected you and loved you!