Greene Publishing, Inc.
After 21 years as a nutrition assistant at the Madison Senior Center, Lonnie Roberson is retiring for good. Before she came to the Madison Senior Center, she had previously retired after nearly 20 years with the hospital, where she worked in housekeeping.
After more than four decades of fulltime work, she decided, “It was time to rest. I’ve been working so long.”
However, even at 81 years of age, it was not a decision made lightly. After 21 years of cooking meals at the Center, she came to regard the seniors and staff as family.
“Yes, I’m going to miss the Center real bad,” she said.
She was the first one who started cooking for the Center when it opened in 1990. Since then, she has made countless meals for as many as 70 or 80 people a day. In addition to lunch for the seniors who came to the Madison Center, she also made meals that were transported to senior facilities in Greenville and Lee.
Born and raised in neighboring Jefferson County, she learned her love of cooking from her mother, and brought that love to the Center, where the seniors who gather there for lunch have enjoyed many a hot and savory meal prepared by her. Some of her favorite dishes to make were collard greens, peas, and sweet potatoes.
The Center staff members organized an ice-cream cake lunch where everyone gathered to say goodbye and wish her well in her retirement. Several people brought gifts, and Madison Senior Center Director Rosa Richardson presented her with a plaque in honor of her many years of service. But when asked if she would like to say a few words, Roberson shook her head. “I don’t want to cry,” she said.
Roberson moved to Madison when she married, and raised six children. She has numerous grandchildren, ranging in age from three months to 38 years, but isn’t quite sure how many there are. “My goodness, I couldn’t count them all,” she said. She has 12 great-grandchildren.
Her family now lives mostly around Madison and Jefferson Counties. A few live in Albany Ga., and some live in South Florida.
She isn’t quite sure what she’d like to do now that she has retired, but she does love to sew, another skill learned from her mother. She has made several quilts over the years, and might do some more of that. Maybe plant a little garden. Definitely spend more time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
But one thing there is no doubt about: “I’m going to come back up here (to the Center) and visit every chance I get,” she said.