A true gentleman

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Mike Reilly (left) and Pettus Randall

Asked to write a column in memory of our good friend and leader Pettus Randall, I wondered what words would be a fitting tribute. Then, going through my wallet, I found a poem by John Walter Wayland that I have carried with me for 27 years. Until I read it, I didn’t know why I had kept it for so long, but I quickly realized that it could have been written about Pettus:

“The true gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies… who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own… a man with whom honor is sacred.”

We will remember Pettus as a man of great passion – for his wife and children, for his company and his associates, and for the industries in which he worked. He was a friend and role model to those of us who worked with him, inspiring us by his courage during his long battle with cancer. Throughout his illness, Pettus stayed positive and firmly focused on the many blessings God had given him over 57 years.

Under Pettus’ leadership, Randall Publishing enjoyed a 27-year period of exponential growth, earning a ranking by Folio magazine as the sixth fastest-growing publishing company in the nation. His boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm touched everyone he met, from the members of the trucking and publishing industries to the citizens of his hometown and home state of Alabama.

Although his time with us was far too short, Pettus’ mark on this world will continue to be felt through the contributions of his wife Catherine J. Randall, their children, Jaynie Rogers, Kate and Pettus, IV, and by the accomplishments of his company and of his associates here at Randall Publishing.

In a tribute to Pettus, William J. Canary, President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, quotes General George S. Patton: “‘Wars are fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.’ Pettus was a gentleman who inspired many to victory over the years,” Canary writes. “He will be missed.”

Mike Reilly is president and CEO of Randall Publishing Co. E-mail mreilly@randallpub.com