ARCHDALE — A sendoff for Archdale’s retiring mayor brought hundreds of people to city hall last week.

The two-plus-hour gathering honored Bert Lance-Stone, who is no longer the city’s mayor for the first time in more than two decades. Re-elected to a 10th term last year, Lance-Stone became the city’s first female mayor in 2000. She previously served eight years on City Council following her appointment in 1992 after her late husband Bruce’s death.

City Manager Zeb Holden, city and county leaders, family and friends greeted Lance-Stone with a warm reception inside the Archdale City Hall to celebrate her retirement. Darrell Frye, chairman of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners, presented Lance-Stone with a certificate of recognition from State Sen. Dave Craven.

“She’s not only been a great mayor — a great leader, and not just for Archdale — for our county; she distinguished us wherever she’s been,” Frye said. “She’s represented all of us, our county, our region. It’s been a great pleasure to work with her, but also to be her friend.”

Applauded for her efforts as a community ambassador for many years, the retiring mayor has received many awards during her tenure as mayor, including the Order of the Long Leaf Pine and the Athena Award. The latter is presented to a businesswoman who makes significant contributions to her community and profession.

Her most recent honor, bestowed by members of the state government, is particularly sweet for Lance-Stone, who announced she would be retiring at the April meeting of City Council. The last two months have been an extended recognition of her contributions to the city.

“I will treasure this forever,” Lance-Stone said. “Seeing people I’ve worked with, city officials, my friends … I feel so humbled and overwhelmed.”

The list of recognitions received by Lance-Stone is lengthy.

In 2016, Archdale-Trinity Chamber of Commerce Awards Committee named one of its honors after her. The Bert Lance-Stone Lifetime Achievement Award was presented at the chamber’s annual meeting to individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime of exceptional public service and volunteerism in the community in multiple capacities with different organizations.

Lance-Stone moved to the area in June 1969, just days before Archdale incorporated. She and her husband worked in local government, helping the city grow into the place it is today. Both were champions for Creekside Park, considered to be the city’s “crown jewel.” Creekside Park began with an initial donation of 18 acres and now encompasses a sprawling 110 acres.

As the city celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, Lance-Stone was the centerpiece of its celebration. She was presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine at Creekside Park during a July 4 event that was equal parts celebration of the city and its leader.

The second female mayor in all of Randolph County, Lance-Stone was described by Holden as an exceptional mayor during her tenure. Council members who are still a part of the local government, including Councilman Roger Blackwell, expressed their support of her when she became mayor. The city has enjoyed remarkable continuity during her time as mayor, as council has been unwavering in their public support.

Lance-Stone was a part of the city’s delegation to Raleigh, where members of council and other residents attended sessions of the N.C. Senate and House of Representatives. They joined Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, and Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph, in celebrating the city’s anniversary from the floors of the General Assembly.

In the days preceding that trip to Raleigh, the departing mayor read a resolution acknowledging the anniversary. A tearful Lance-Stone explained that she felt welcomed to the city upon her arrival and has grown to love it more as the years pass by.

“I am an import from South Carolina,” Lance-Stone said at the time. “I want the citizens of Archdale to know what you’ve meant to me. I’ve lost two husbands, and Archdale has been my new husband. I’m so thankful that God has led me here.”

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.