Longtime Wilson County Road Superintendent Steve Armistead received dozens of compliments and kind words Friday as the commission honored the late leader with a building dedication.
The Wilson County Road Commission will now hold operations inside the Steve Armistead Building on Tennessee Boulevard.
Armistead was first appointed road superintendent in August 1996 and served in that role until his death in January.
He lived in Mt. Juliet with his wife, Linda Armistead, who was elected to the Wilson County Board of Education last year.
Linda shared remarks with the crowd of more than 50 people Friday during the celebration.
“I always was a little hesitant to put something new on his body – a shirt or a pair of pants – because I knew that day, when he came back in, it was going to have a hole in it or be torn somewhere because he was one that would get down and do what needed to be done when it came to fixing things,” she said.
Armistead said her husband was dedicated to his work and thank the list of people who were involved in his life and work.
She especially thanked the late Gilbert Graves, his mentor.
“We all know when Gilbert and Steve got in the truck together, we never knew what was going to happen,” she said.
Sonja Robinson, Armistead’s administrative assistant for 16 years, also shared remarks, including her initial decline to become Armistead’s administrative assistant.
“I turned him down. I told him I had a job,” she said. “Well anybody that knows Steve Armistead knows, what I found out later working for him for 16 years, you don’t tell him no. He didn’t like the word.”
Robinson said the decision to join Armistead was one of the best ones she made.
“If I didn’t come to this office. What a loss it would’ve been for me,” Robinson said.
“The best word I can think for Steve was colorful – colorful and descriptive,” said Robinson, who shared the story of an incident where Armistead wanted to talk to an angry caller who she said she couldn’t help.
“The louder the man got, the louder and more colorful Steve Armistead got,” she said.
“He got a little louder and a little louder. Finally, at the end of that conversation, Steve said, ‘Oh. By the way, you have a nice day.’”
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto highlighted Armistead’s dedication to the county.
“I visited the man just a few days before he left this earth,” Hutto said. “He was staring death in the face, but he still wanted to know how we were doing and how the county was doing.”
Robinson said Armistead’s presence would continue to be felt in the rededicated building.
“We became in this office, and still are, family,” she said. “We lost a great family member.”