MOULTRIE -- Beth Redding is retiring from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Parks and Recreation Department after 30 years, but she wants people to know that they should not be surprised to continue seeing her at the community's diamonds and basketball courts.

Without a full-time job to deal with, she will be able to more fully enjoy continuing to coach grandson Brice's baseball team.

And when grandson Blake, now just 2, comes along, she is likely to be out there coaching him as well.

And the girls and women in Colquitt County who have grown accustomed to seeing her supervise, coach and play in their programs can expect to find her close by as well.

"I'll be involved," Redding said last week on one of her final days on the job. "I'll come back and check on them."

In her three decades with the recreation department, she worked for just two bosses: Jim Buck Goff, who hired her in 1973, and Rick Gehle, who succeeded Goff in 1991.

"She always gave everything she had, and then some," said Gehle, who is now working for the Colquitt County school system. "She took her job very seriously.

"She always had a smile on her face and I never heard any complaints about her not working well with the public. She is truly a dedicated recreation professional and she will be missed."

Beth McCoy grew up in Berlin, where her parents Bee and Kate McCoy still live.

After going to school in Moultrie in the eighth grade, she began playing basketball, first for Knuck McCrary and later for Ace Little, who coached the Packerettes.

"I learned a lot from both of them," she said of the two Colquitt County Sports Hall of Famers.

There were not nearly as many options for female high school athletes then and she stuck with basketball and became an All-Region player for the Packerettes.

In fact, in 1964, as a junior, she was named to The Moultrie Observer's first County All-Star team that also included Moultrie High teammate Ida Faye Smithson; Cheryl Hathcock and Mary Jo Fincher from Doerun High; and Wanda Purvis and Carolyn Grantham from Norman Park High.

After attending Abraham Baldwin College for a year, she worked at Moody Air Force Base and married Stanley Redding and the couple has one son Jody.

Jody, who works in Colquitt County for Sen. Zell Miller, and his wife Deidre are the parents of Brice and Blake.

When Jody was about 5, Redding was at the tennis courts when Goff told her he was creating a new position at the recreation department and thought she would be perfect for it.

And although she was not planning to go back to work, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

She joined the recreation staff, which also included Darrell Strange, and was put in charge of the girls and women's sports.

Her first activity was cheerleading and she says she had perhaps 100 girls involved.

Now there are more than 200 girls in recreation cheerleading.

"Sometimes I think she has had more cheerleaders than we've had football players," Gehle said.

When basketball season rolled around that first year, she took a team to the Georgia Parks and Recreation Society's state tournament in Savannah and it finished as the state runner-up.

In the early years, the girls softball teams had to play in the mornings because they used the same fields as the youth baseball teams, which played at night.

Over the years, the number of facilities expanded and improved and the girls softball program was able to play its games at night as well.

And the women's softball program grew and played its games at the Knuck McCrary Complex.

And in recent years, Redding has seen the girls softball program get its own three-field complex just across the street from where the old recreation department office was once located.

She has seen the building of the Moose Moss Aquatic Center, the Magnolia Sports Complex and, one of her favorites, the Tom White Linear Park.

"I'm so proud of the walking trail," she said, noting that is used by people of all ages, races and physical condition.

"Jim Buck really pushed that. It's there for everybody, whether they're athletic or not."

Redding says the 30 years have sped by while watching the recreation department -- and the recreational opportunities for girls, boys and adults -- grow in her hometown.

"I have had some wonderful times and I've got great memories," said Redding, who now is now watching children whose mothers were in her program years ago.

"And I really want to thank all those people who coached, everyone who gave their time and effort. They don't know the effect they have had.

"Sometimes you just don't realize the impact you have had."

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