RMSP Conference Center named for Bob & Gail Burleson

Published 6:28 pm Friday, March 24, 2017

Roan Mountain State Park is now home to a lasting tribute to two of the individuals who helped shape the park into the place it is today.

On Friday morning, local officials, park staff, and members of the community gathered inside the Conference Center at the Park to celebrate its official naming as the “Bob and Gail Burleson Conference Center.” The late Bob Burleson and his wife Gail were both very active members of the Roan Mountain community, and during Bob’s tenure in the Tennessee General Assembly from 1972 to 1986 much of the development for the park was accomplished.

State Rep. Timothy Hill was one of the driving forces behind honoring the Burlesons, and he spoke about their devotion to the community on Friday morning.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“When you talk about Carter County you talk about Bob, and certainly when you talk about Roan Mountain you talk about Bob,” Hill said. “His influence here was second to none. The legacy of this park is something that is tied to him.”

While many people have spoken of Bob’s accomplishments, Hill said it is important to remember the role Gail played as well.

“You cannot say Bob Burleson without saying Gail,” Hill said. “I know what my wife means to me. The fact of the matter is no one does this alone.”

“He had a solid, strong partner in Gail,” Hill added. “A lot of what he accomplished for us he was able to do because of his support from Gail and his family.”

Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey also shared some of his thoughts on working with Bob.

“He was not a politician. He was a self-accomplished individual. He was a man that was self-made,” Humphrey said. “He is what I would call a statesman, a true statesman.”

“By far, in the time I’ve been here, I cannot find one individual who can compare to what I saw in Bob Burleson,” he added.

Gail and other members of the Burleson family were on hand for the ceremony.

As she spoke, Gail shared a story about her husband when he would take a taxi ride.

“He would climb up front with the driver, and before long he would be talking to him and asking him about his family,” Gail recalled. “It didn’t matter where he was, that was his interest — people.”

She thanked Hill and the others involved with renaming the Conference Center.

“It is a great honor that you’ve given to all of us and we appreciate it,” she said.