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Mobley heads for retirement

After 37 and a half years — don’t forget that half a year — Phil Mobley is retiring later this month as a city employee.

Mobley, the city parks and recreation director, was honored for his long tenure with the city with a reception Wednesday at the Washington Civic Center.

An unprecedented event was part of the reception — the reading of a letter from N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation officials that extolls Mobley’s contributions to parks and recreation. The letter was read by Brownie Futrell, a long-time Mobley friend and a member of the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Authority.

“This is unprecedented recognition, according to our friend Steve Moler (an official with the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation’s Washington office). It’s the first time the state has ever officially recognized a retiring local director,” Futrell said.

The letter outlined several parks and recreation projects and programs Mobley helped influence. Those include the Susiegrey Moore McConnell Sports Complex, the Hildred T. Moore Aquatics Center, Festival Park and the city docks.

Several of Mobley’s co-workers talked about what it was like to work with Mobley. City officials and city residents talked about how Mobley worked with them to help inform and educate them or how he helped them see projects such as the city’s off-leash dog park become a reality.

“The people in this room are the people I really care about and love. You’ve had a spot in my heart. I’m telling you I’m taking that with me today and it will always be with me from this time on. Again, none of you realize what you meant to me. And I appreciate that,” Mobley said during his turn at the microphone.

Mobley began his tenure with the city Jan. 29, 1975, as director of what was then the Seventh Street Recreation Center (now the Bobby Andrews Recreation Center) for six months. Then he served as athletics director for 18 months, according to information provided by the Parks and Recreation Department. After Barry Johnson vacated his position as parks and recreation director, Mobley added the title of acting director of parks and recreation to his resume while continuing to serve as athletics director for six months. Then Jack Webb, city manager at the time, offered Mobley the job as the city’s parks and recreation director, which Mobley accepted.

 

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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