Leaving the nest

In her 44 years of service as Seymour High School’s athletics secretary, Sue Blythe worked with all six of the school’s athletics directors.

Each day, Blythe put all of her efforts into her job at the office — making sure that all the athletics ran in an organized manner.

Whether she was putting together contracts with outside schools, helping a foreign exchange student fill out paperwork or calling officials to referee games, Blythe always had a hand in the Owls’ athletics.

Recently, Blythe announced that her journey at Seymour High School was coming to an end, and new life adventure was beginning in retirement.

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In 1966 Blythe moved to Seymour when her husband, Brantley Blythe, accepted a teaching position with the school.

Originally from Sandborn, Blythe said she didn’t know anyone in Seymour upon her arrival.

“I got married, and we moved here to Seymour,” Blythe said. “I didn’t know anyone in Seymour and heard that there was an opening from Mr. (Robert) Bulleit, who was the superintendent at the time. I talked to him and he said ‘you’re hired, when can you start.’ I asked him to give me a week because at that time you weren’t allowed to wear slacks to work, and I didn’t have any dresses. I had to get a wardrobe and then a week later I came to work.”

Back in the 1960s, Seymour didn’t have sanctioned female athletics or the same number of sports offered at the school today.

“When I first got here, I worked half the day and helped Jack Miller the other half the day,” Blythe said. “I watched over a couple study halls also. At that time, we didn’t have sports like soccer. You had football, cross-country and volleyball in the fall. They didn’t even have girls basketball back when I started. Donna Sullivan got the girls sports started. Lots of things have changed.”

Barney Scott, John Britton, Walt Wintin, Mickey Beck, John Fee and Brandon Harpe have acted as athletics directors at Seymour throughout the years.

Harpe said that Blythe always tried to keep the athletics at Seymour to the highest standard.

“I think she brought high expectations,” Harpe said. “She wasn’t afraid to tell coaches and athletes when to get things in by a certain time. I always appreciated that about her. She could be the hammer without any backup. She gave it her best every day.

“She’s very smart, dedicated and strong. She enjoyed being here. The moment she gets to work she was working. She will definitely be missed.”

Throughout the years, Blythe has stayed in close contact with the former athletics directors.

“I’ve made a lot of good friends,” Blythe said. “I’m able to say I’ve had six bosses and been good friends with them in and out of school. It’s a good feeling. When the others retired, we’ve still been friends.”

Part of Blythe’s job entailed making sure that the kids’ grades were up to par.

“You have to check their papers and make sure they’re making their grades and are in enough classes,” Blythe said. “At the end of the nine weeks, you do it again. It’s something different every day. I like something different every day. I also make sure we have all the contracts with the officials and the schools. You meet a lot of good people, I’ve enjoyed it here.”

One of Blythe’s fondest memories is working while her kids attended Seymour’s schools and watching generations of families pass through the halls.

“I enjoyed when my kids were here,” Blythe said. “You always make sure you go to their activities. It’s nice to see these young people go from freshman to senior year and being involved. It’s always good to see them go all four years.”

Blythe said she plans on doing a lot of reading, going on walks with her husband, spending time with friends and visiting her grandchildren in Carmel.

While she looks forward to retirement, she said she will miss the pace of work.

“I like to be busy, and usually I’m always busy,” Blythe said. “I’m not used to having time on my hands. I’ve worked since I was 14 years old.”

Seymour’s schools will always hold a special place in Blythe’s heart.

“I’ve appreciated all the people I’ve worked with all the years,” Blythe said. “It’s been a pleasure working for Seymour community schools.”