Retirees gather for memories, fellowship
By Joe Westbury, Managing Editor
Published August 23, 2012
Longtime employee Iris Hudson Thurmond talks about her fun days at the convention with GBC Executive Director J. Robert White. Thurmond began in the WMU office in 1982 and transferred to the business office in 1990, retiring with additional responsibilities in human resources in 2001. She and her husband, Jerry, are retired in Bonifay, FL on the state's panhandle.
There was a day when new hires at the Georgia Baptist Convention were quizzed about their typing speed for their manual typewriters. And women were no longer employed after they were “expecting.”
And when women were not allowed to wear red dresses.
Those were some of the stories that were shared from the days of the Baptist building on Peachtree and Baker streets in downtown Atlanta when some of the current retirees came to work as young as 18 in 1947.
There was also no air-conditioning in the building and employees cooled their brows with a damp towel from the water cooler.
Among those sharing the memories were Joyce Bannister, who was that 18-year-old who served for 41 years, and lifelong friend Emma Barber who served for 35 years. Today Bannister, who has been retired for 24 years, lives in Fayetteville and Barber, who has been retired for 29 years, lives in Decatur. The two lifelong friends sat together at the luncheon and regaled GBC Executive Director Bob White with stories from the proverbial "good old days" as he passed the microphone around the room.
A lot has changed, they said. And current employees at the annual GBC retirees luncheon on Aug. 15 quickly agreed it's all been for the better.
Reuben Howington served 21 years as plant engineer/head of maintenance at the Baptist center. He began his service in 1985 and retired in 2006 before working an additional three years part-time. He is living in Sugar Hill.
Paul Camp was among those attending the gathering with his wife, Frances (not pictured). Camp joined the state convention as director for the Evangelism and Missions Division in January 1989 and retired in December 1998. He and his wife live in Rome.
Longtime missions advocates Dorothy Pryor, left of Georgia WMU, and Gene Dailey of the Brotherhood share memories from the past. Pryor, who is retired in Decatur, joined the state convention in 1955 before serving as WMU executive director from 1963 until her retirement in 1991. Dailey came to the convention in 1969 and served as director of the Brotherhood Department 1971-90. He and his wife, Sara, reside in McDonough.
Recognition for the longest-serving retiree at the luncheon went to Vickie Norwood with a total of 46 years full- and part-time. She served at the convention 1963-98 before continuing part-time through January 2012. Norwood, who began her tenure at The Index working with legendary editor John Jeter Hurt, lives in Covington.
Clarence and Faye Drummond, left and center, prepare to enjoy the luncheon with Doris Lowndes, right. Clarence Drummond served in special missions before retiring a decade ago. He and his wife reside in Suches, where he recently celebrated 10 years as pastor of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church. Lowndes is wife of retired Lords Day Alliance director Jack Lowndes, not pictured.
Nearly 100 retirees and guests attended the annual appreciation luncheon at the Baptist Missions and Ministry Center on Aug. 15.