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IN MEMORIAM: BOBETTE DUDLEY
A beloved, respected, and admired 30-year veteran of the Country Music industry, Bobette Dudley passed away at midnight Sunday (March 9) from injuries sustained in a single car accident Friday in her hometown of Lobelville, Tenn. Family and friends were by her side.
“She touched so many people with her voice and smile, her sense of humor, and material and emotional generosity,” said Dudley’s longtime partner Clarke Gallivan. “She was a connoisseur of good food, great wine, and true friendship. She had a deep and abiding appreciation of the simple pleasures, as well as the finest things.”
Visitation will be Thursday, March 13 (4:00-8:00 PM/CT) and a service will be held Friday, March 14 (1:00 PM/CT), both at McDonald Funeral Home, 366 S. Main Street, Lobelville, Tenn. 37097, phone (931) 589-2141. Interment will be immediately following the service at the Burns Family Cemetery.
Dudley loved the outdoors, especially boating on the Tennessee River. She enjoyed travel with Gallivan and they spent two weeks in Montreal during the holidays. But as much as she enjoyed adventure, she loved her house in ‘the country’ in Lobelville, even more.
Donations can be made to the Bobette Dudley Memorial Fund for the beautification of Lobelville, c/o Bank of Perry County, P.O. Box 457, Lobelville, Tenn. 37097.
A 25-year veteran of CMA, it is impossible to look at what the Association has accomplished and where the industry is today and not see Dudley’s impeccable hand and numerous contributions. Her passion for the music, her laser-like focus on details, and her commitment to excellence leave a lasting legacy on many of the industry’s most high-profile events including CMA Music Festival and the CMA Awards, which is recognized as Country Music’s Biggest Night.
“I am deeply saddened about the tragic loss of my longtime friend and colleague,” said former CMA Executive Director Ed Benson. “Bobette’s keen sense of style and her remarkable ability to manage details were gifts that she used so effectively in her years with CMA. Her work, often behind the scenes, was vital to the success of all of CMA’s events large and small. She certainly helped make the organization and the industry look better to the eyes of the world. There is no way to ever replace her devotion to and determination in her work.”
“Bobette has always been a loyal friend and colleague!” said former CMA CEO Tammy Genovese. “I first met her in 1986 and her climb to the ranks of Senior Vice President is a perfect indication of her impeccable work ethic, leadership, and reputation for the ongoing development and growth of first class events like the CMA Music Festival, ‘CMA Country Christmas’ and of course the CMA Awards. She built her personal and career life on family, friends, and relationships and she was always there for us! She will be greatly missed and my heart is broken at the loss of such a great friend.”
“Bobette was a very loyal and capable employee who was devoted to achieving the very best image of and for CMA,” said Jo Walker-Meador, the former CMA Executive Director who hired Dudley. “Bobette came to CMA at a very young age and grew exceedingly well as she advanced in her career. She was not satisfied with mediocre – she strove for perfection. On a personal level, I loved and admired her. She was a good friend and we remained good friends. She will be greatly missed.”
Dudley began her career at CMA in 1986 – a week before that year’s Fan Fair – and served as Senior Vice President, with direct oversight of the organization’s acclaimed Events and Special Projects Department, when she retired from CMA in December 2011.
Throughout her career, Dudley demonstrated her skills as a creative leader. She was always quick to share credit for CMA’s successes with her professional team and became a respected mentor to many in the process. In an interview marking her 20th anniversary in 2006 in CMA Close Up, she described her favorite part of working at CMA as “being able to work with so many talented people – our staff, independent contractors, our temp staff, industry associates, the artists and of course our Board members. It’s the ‘team’ and people working together, that really means a lot to me.”
Dudley contributed to CMA’s outstanding growth and success including the relocation of Fan Fair, now CMA Music Festival, from the Tennessee State Fairgrounds to downtown Nashville in 2001, and the creation of the companion CMA Music Festival television special in 2004; the successful move of the CMA Awards to New York City in 2005 and then back to its current home at the Bridgestone Arena for the 40th anniversary in 2006; and the launch in 2010 of CMA’s holiday television special, “CMA Country Christmas.”
She appreciated beauty and all that that implies. She looked for things that were genuine and then found ways to share them with everyone she knew. She was never content to set the bar, but to exceed it in everything she did.
And she applied those qualities to every project, big or small, from the CMA’s signature events to managing logistics for the CMA Board of Directors meetings including events at Vice President Al Gore’s residence and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
BizBash, a magazine covering the event-planning industry, named Dudley to their selection of the 15 Top Event Planners of the Year for her work overseeing the CMA Awards’ move to New York City. She was a member of NARAS/The Recording Academy, Nashville Film Festival, and SOURCE Foundation.
Her commitment to working closely and productively with her colleagues and members of the Board and industry was reflected in Dudley’s personal philosophy, which she shared – in her words – when she retired: “to be confident, patient, honest, compassionate, and to live each day with courage and a belief in myself and others.”
Bobette Dudley is survived by her longtime partner Clarke Gallivan; her parents Julia and Bobby Dudley; a brother Michael Dudley, her sister-in-law Sonya, niece Addison, and nephew Taylor; her aunt Joyce Dudley Sircy and uncle Bob Sircy; as well as cousins Jackie Smith and Jodi Osborne.