Alan Bumgarner, a youth sports coordinator for Amherst County’s recreation and parks department and former Amherst County School Board member, is being remembered for his community involvement and love for the outdoors.
Bumgarner, of Madison Heights, died Sept. 1 at age 63. He was working for the parks and recreation department and prior to that spent the majority of his career at Benchmark Systems in Lynchburg. A lifelong member of Madison Heights Baptist Church, he sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and served on the board of deacons.
In August 2014, he was appointed by the board of supervisors to represent District 3 on the county’s school board, a seat he held through June 2016. District 3 is the western portion of the county that includes parts of Madison Heights, Monroe, Elon and Pleasant View.
Todd Blake, his pastor at Madison Heights Baptist Church, said Bumgarner was highly dedicated to the church where his late father served as pastor for 32 years. Bumgarner taught youth and recently headed a college-age class.
“He loved doing that. He loved singing in the choir,” said Blake. “A lot of guys my age talk about the trips they would go on with him growing up and what a fun person he was.”
Blake said Bumgarner was instrumental in getting him to coach soccer and referee at the Coolwell Recreational Center.
“I enjoyed his perspective on youth sports,” said Blake. “It wasn’t to create world-class athletes. It was to teach them to be good teammates, good people, be active and healthy, all those important life skills that would last beyond their days playing sports.”
A Sept. 4 service honoring Bumgarner’s life was held at the Coolwell center, which Blake said is a fitting location because he spent much time serving the community.
Bumgarner also was a past member of the Pedlar Mills Ruritan Club and was passionate about hunting and fishing, according to his obituary. He is survived by his wife, Terry, two children and a grandson.
Amherst County School Board Chair Priscilla Liggon said she enjoyed serving alongside Bumgarner. She called him “B.”
“Mr. Bumgarner was concerned for the kids in Amherst,” Liggon said. “I will miss him for sure.”
John Grieser, who attends Madison Heights Baptist Church and currently serves on the school board, said he met Bumgarner when Grieser was a boy.
“I can’t say enough good about him,” Grieser said. “He was one of the male role models that I can’t thank enough for influencing my life. He taught me a lot about recognizing that there is always a different perspective and to respect that. He helped teach me about being a Christian.”
Grieser said as an adult he valued conversations with Bumgarner about various topics and when Grieser joined the school board in January 2020 Bumgarner brought perspective to issues and was a supportive ear.
He also complimented Bumgarner’s dedication to youth.
“Never in a million years did I imagine I would be coaching little kids in soccer, especially since I never played it myself, but Alan’s persistence in asking me and respect for him nudged me into it,” Grieser said. “I learned from him that it was just as much the interactions and role modeling for the kids as it was imparting soccer skills. I will truly miss him, but I’m also lucky to have known him.”