Billy Ragsdale, one of Jamestown’s favorite sons and favorite mayors, has passed away and now those in the town and in the county are remembering him fondly.
Born in November 1943, Ragsdale was serving as a Jamestown Town Council member when he was appointed mayor in April 1998 after the death of his first cousin Tom Ragsdale – who was serving as the town’s mayor when he had a heart attack while playing basketball.
Billy Ragsdale was a unanimous pick of Jamestown Town Council for the job and he went on to leave a lasting legacy on the town where he served as mayor for five terms.
Ragsdale graduated from Ragsdale High School and he attended Guilford College. He served in the United States Marine Corps and later worked in the textile industry becoming the President of Oakdale Cotton Mills.
Piedmont Triad Partnership’s Carolina Core Regional Economic Development Director Loren Hill knew Ragsdale well and he remembered Ragsdale and his influence on Jamestown.
“Billy Ragsdale loved Jamestown and its people so much,” Hill said, “He took genuine interest in the town’s residents and could put any of them at ease while making them laugh. My grandparents, parents, aunts, wife, and I were honored to be longtime family friends with him.”
Hill added that Ragsdale was well liked “by an amazingly large cross-section of local residents,” and Ragsdale and his late wife Kathy’s Super Bowl parties were “legendary.”
Hill also said, “When my wife and I hosted a foreign exchange student who quickly became a part of our family, Kathy and Billy Ragsdale went out of their way to welcome him and treat him like their family. Billy helped guide the young man to consider – and then attend – Guilford College, Billy’s alma mater.”
Ragsdale’s obituary reads, “Billy always had a special place in his heart for the people that worked by his side at Oakdale. Through the years, he shared so many wonderful stories about them ….He was very passionate about his hometown of Jamestown and promoted it at every opportunity. Billy enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing golf with his friends and spending special time with his grandkids. Billy was a loving father and remarkable grandfather ‘Papa’ and a loyal friend. He also spent a significant amount of time with friends and family at his home in Atlantic Beach, NC.”