WILLIAMS - Retiring from 60 years of teaching Sunday school will get you roasted. Christian style.
Last Saturday, the First Baptist Church hosted a retirement bash for Edith Pouquette, honoring her extensive track record of good deeds for the church and the people of Williams with plenty of good food and memories.
"She is so wonderful, and is there for everything," party organizer and friend Ellie Neilson said. "Edith just volunteers for everything, she is a wonder. She walks circles around me."
Teaching Sunday school and group Bible study for 60 years was just one aspect of her community contributions, Pouquette was also honored simply for her willingness to lend a hand.
"Everyone adores her, there isn't anything she wouldn't do for you, she is always Johnny-on-the-spot," Neilson said. "If anybody is sick she is cooking food for them, the list goes on. She is just a marvel."
For the 84-year-old Pouquette, the party came as a complete surprise.
"I had no idea. They said they had been planning it for two months and how anything can get by me in that church is just crazy," she said.
Pouquette thought she would be attending a Valentine's Day potluck, even making a dish for the occasion, but instead was greeted at the church door by her students, friends and family, ready to give her much-deserved recognition.
"I finally realized the party was for me when people were standing up, yelling and clapping and I said 'why?'" Pouquette said. "Then when I saw the banner saying congratulations for 60 years of teaching and I was overwhelmed."
Organizers set up a potluck dinner for Pouquette, invited her children, old friends, and students, which included a family of three generations. Memories were shared through as many photos as her friends could obtain without her knowledge.
"I was shocked. They got pictures from my house, out of all of my albums without me knowing," she said. "One friend said she came in when she thought I wasn't going to be around and she just picked out all these pictures. They were put on a screen overhead."
Ellie Neilson said around 125 people were at hand to pay homage to Pouquette.
"We bought her lots of flowers and then we roasted her," Neilson said. "Everyone in the room got a chance to speak directly to Edith and tell her what they remembered best about her, some of the stories you could just not believe."