Departed friend had clear vision throughout life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2000

(Editors Note: The following is a copy of a column that appeared in The Greenville Advocate in early 1992. It is a brief biographical sketch of Dr. Robert Neal Bedsole who left this mortal scene last Monday, Dec. 20. In addition to the text of that sketch it may be added that our friend Bob was a garrulous, outspoken individual with a keen sense of humor who delighted in telling tales, many of which portrayed himself as the goat of the piece. He laughed at his foibles, at others and at life in general. One of his recent affiliations was as a member of the Jameson Gang, a coffee clatch that has met daily for several years. He will be sorely missed by the Gang, by his friends (he had no known enemies). May God bless-R.I.P.)

There is none so blind as they that won't see.

The above is a direct quote from Jonathon Swift's Polite Conversation.

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Our camellia recipient this week is a retired Greenville citizen who has dedicated the major portion of his existence to the healing arts, particularly in the area of sight preservation.

He is your friend and mine, Dr. Robert Neal ("Bob") Bedsole, O.D., and his prime objective has been, and continues to be in the prevention of blindness and in assisting those with poor eyesight.

Although Jonathon Swift spoke in the abstract, Dr. Bob took a more practical approach to the matter of retention of that precious gift.

For more than forty years Bob has ministered to some 40,000 individuals in need of eye care, and every evening after work we feel certain that he retired with a fine sense of accomplishment.

A native Alabamian, Bob was born at Samson in Geneva County on August 4, 1922, and was educated in its public schools, graduating from Samson High School in 1939.

He matriculated at the University of Alabama where he studied business administration for two years before entering the U.S. Army for a three-year hitch that put him on active duty in the Pacific Theater.

Bob was honorably discharged from service as a staff sergeant and immediately resumed his studies at UA. He completed his studies achieving a bachelor of science degree in optical science at Chicago's Northern Illinois College of Optometry in 1950.

He practiced optometry at Auburn for three years before moving to Greenville, his permanent home, in 1953.

Somewhere along the line, he met Sue Montgomery of Northport, Alabama, herself a now-retired surgical nurse (R.N.), and persuaded her to become Mrs. Bedsole.

Together they parented three children, rwo sons and a daughter, Neal, Ronnie and Harriett. Bob shares a shingle with daughter Dr. Harriett Bcdsole Foshee, O.D., although she does about 99 percent of dhe work.

In keeping with his career, Bob affiliated with Lions International in 1950 and has been active in that organization for forty-two years. The prime objective of the Lions Club is sight conservation.

He has served on the Alabama Optometric Association board for many years, and holds memberships in the American Legion, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and the country club.

Additionally, he is on the board of deacons at the First Baptist Church, and in the past was an offiecr in the Jaycees and also served six years as chairman of the Buder County Christmas Seal drive.

His hobbies include fishing, hunting, golf, arrowhead searches and, as he puts it, "anything to get out of work."

Bob says he has elaborate plans to dedicate the rest of his life to having fun.

He launched his retirement during the past year, and since he was too busy to enjoy a honeymoon in earlier years, he packed his suitcase and took Sue

with him to honeymoon heaven, Niagara Falls.

When you start counting the legions that fall into Swift's category of "those that won't see," be sure you omit the name Bedsole from that list.

Bob does, can and will continue to see clearly so long as he exists.

January 30, 1992