By Jodi Marze, Lifestyles Editor
The Picayune Item
For 33 years, Coach Dewey Partridge has been at the helm of The Cornerstone health and fitness facility, in Picayune. On Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m., a retirement reception will be held there, for Partridge, as he retires from his position as executive director.
Partridge has been married 42 years to Lana. He has four children and three grandchildren
Interim Executive Director Jennifer Harrison, says, “His commitment to The Cornerstone began when it was Picayune Athletic Association (PAA) in 1980, it became Cornerstone in 1986. He joined the Kiwanis club in 1986 has been the leader and organizer of the Kiwanis Special Olympics since, raising money for the physically and mentally challenged youth and young adults in this community. He has been a president of the Big 8 Coaches Assoc. in 1972 and has served numerous times on the State Board of Education.
Partridge has always been involved in atheletics or fitness is some way.
Harrison says, “In 1955 he played both football and basketball All Star teams and was one of only two players who have ever played in both games during same year. He has officiated both high school and junior college basketball (boy & girl) games.
He was one of two people to officiate the first intergrated boys basketball games in Miss., as well as South State Boys Basketball in 1969 or 1970.
“Personally, in the ten years I have worked side by side with Coach I have never seen a man so dearly loved by so many people of all ages, from all over the state. This man has more friends and admirers than any man I know. He has been a mentor to many young athletes and continues to be a strong influence to even the youngest, hoping for a spot on a local team no matter what the sport is.
“He has taught me many things in both business and life; but the one thing that sticks out the most and that is most appreciated is to treat people with kindness. He has taught me to learn their names and call them by it each time they come in. If I speak to everyone and get to know them, I can convey to them that they are truly appreciated.
“He is an amazing man and I have truly been honored to know him and call him my boss, my mentor my friend.”
Fellow Kiwanis member and lifetime friend, Steve McDonald says, “Dewey is a founding member of the Picayune Kiwanis Club. Through the years he has been the back bone of the club serving in all areas of the club not to mention making sure that the quality of whatever the Picayune Kiwanis Club took part in was only done in a first class way. Dewey has steadfastly supported or led all our projects to help children.”
Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce Director April Lovelace says of Partridge, "Mr. Dewey has always played a fundamental part in the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce and we appreciate all his years of service to the community. He has also received the honor of serving as our Citizen of the Year in 2008."
"Dewey Partridge loves people and has the keen ability to find the best in people. His focus is on helping others and always puts them ahead of himself," says City Manager Jim Luke.
“I’ve known Dewey since he came back to coach the football team in in the 80’s He is a very nice, gentle man who has a colorful imagination and personality. He’s one of the true characters and surviving Miss. College Football icons who was very active and right in the middle of the glory years of Ole Miss football in 1950s and early 1960s.
“Even though he possesses a coloful personality and in the past has not been reluctant to speak with tongue in cheek, I have always observed that he has gone out of his way to treat people with consideration, friendliness and concern,” says Gerald Cruthird.
“He never meets a stranger. He is a pro at breaking the ice with someone and getting them to warm up. I hate to see him retire but we plan on taking some trips to see some football games. He is quite a guy; I have a lot of good friends because of him.
“Of course he is really involved with Special Olympics Golf events and Kiwanis. He is someone who will always be involved in the community,” says long-time friend Dickie Travis.