Cover photo for Stermell Gilmer Bledsoe's Obituary
Stermell Gilmer Bledsoe Profile Photo
1929 Stermell 2019

Stermell Gilmer Bledsoe

May 31, 1929 — July 3, 2019

S. Gilmer Bledsoe – Duffield, VA

S. Gilmer Bledsoe passed from this life on July 3, 2019.

He was born in Wise County, Virginia on May 31, 1929 to the late Dixie Jean Taylor Bledsoe and Stermell Euell (Bud) Bledsoe. He was preceded in death by his oldest son, Richard Gilmer (Rick) Bledsoe; his oldest grandson, Cody Richard Bledsoe and, his sister Peggy Ruth Begley. Gilmer was the last surviving member of his immediate family.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Jo Ann Roberts Bledsoe, Duffield, VA; his daughters, Mitzi B. Clark (Dallen), Church Hill, TN and Myra B. Shifflett (Gary), Pounding Mill, VA; and, his son Randy M. Bledsoe, Duffield, VA. Also surviving are his grandchildren; Autumn Carter (Adam), Courtney Robinson (Luke), Josh Shifflett, Paige Hodges (Ethan), Wesley Shifflett and William Bledsoe. He is also remembered by his great grandchildren, Collin, Grayson and Kian Hodges, Marlee and Mary Jane Robinson, Andrew Carter, Cody, Chrissy and DeAnne Bledsoe.

Gilmer graduated from Fairview High School and Hiwassee College. He then joined the US Navy where he was stationed at San Diego Naval Hospital serving as a medic. During his Navy service, he married Jo Ann Roberts of Clinchport, VA and started his family. He later served on the USS Iowa in the Marshall Islands during the Korean War as a medic. After his discharge from the Navy, he attended ETSU and William and Mary College to complete his Master of Education degree. He taught at Keokee High School and Rye Cove High School. He coached boys basketball at Keokee and Rye Cove and was the Assistant Principle at Rye Cove for many years. Leaving Rye Cove, he attended and graduated from FBI School at Quantico, VA and was hired by the US Forest Service to develop the educational program for a new government resident and job training program known as Job Corps. During his years with Job Corps, he was assigned to stations in Catoctin, MD, Jacobs Creek in Bristol, Tn, the Southeastern Regional Office in Atlanta, GA (where he served as the Southeastern Regional Director) and finally at Flatwoods in Coeburn, VA. In the early 1970’s he was hired as the Superintendent of the newly created Natural Tunnel State Park near Clinchport, VA. He retired after 18 years of service, having overseen the construction of numerous facilities and many improvements that continue to be enjoyed by all who visit the park. He came out of retirement for a short time to serve as the General Services Director for the Department of Mines Minerals and Energy during construction of their office in Big Stone, VA.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s he served on various boards and committees in his community. He was on the Lonesome Pine Hospital Board, Lenowisco Regional Planning District Commission and was an inaugural member of the Mountain Empire Community College Board. He was a founding member of the Duffield Lions Club. Until his recent illness, he was a faithful member of Red Hill Memorial Church, having served as adult Sunday School teacher and Trustee.

Gilmer and Jo Ann enjoyed their retirement by traveling to the Holy Land 3 times as well as to Greece, France, Jordan, Egypt, Hawaii and the Western United States. For many years Jo Ann and Gilmer sang gospel music at many churches throughout Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee. They, along with Jo Ann’s sister, Dallas Taylor and long-time friend and neighbor, Inez Bishop, formed the “The Old Timer’s Quartet”. They were also part of the TruWay Trio and TruWay Quartet. They thoroughly enjoyed spreading their faith in the gospel through song.

Gilmer was also a long-time ham radio operator making friends all over the country. His call sign, WA4GEZ, is now a silent key.

The family would like to thank special caregivers Barbara Tomlinson, Freida Sluss and Barbara Hubbard for taking such good care of both Gilmer and Jo Ann. The staff at Nova Health and Rehab and Dr. Alysen Carter for the care and compassion they have shown.

The family will receive friends from 5:00PM-7:00PM, Sunday, July 7, 2019 at the Gate City Funeral Home. Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00AM, Monday, July 8, 2019 in the Gene Falin Memorial Chapel of the funeral home with Brother Gary Hood officiating.

Military graveside will follow the service, Monday, July 8, 2019 at the Holston View Cemetery, Weber City, VA conducted by, by the American Legion Hammond Post #3, Kingsport, TN and Post #265, Gate City, VA. Family and Friends will serve as pallbearers.

An online guest register is available for the Bledsoe family at

Gate City Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family of Stermell Gilmer Bledsoe.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Stermell Gilmer Bledsoe, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 7

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree