Elberta Crate worker retires after 40 years

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Carolyn Bell recently retired after working for Elberta Crate for 40 years.

She says she was about 24 years old when she first began, and only planned to stay there for a couple of weeks. She wanted to make enough money to buy Christmas gifts. But, then, she found she liked it and the people she worked with and she was ready to put in her eight hours a day for a while.

She performed the same job for the first 30 years, when she was on the dry kiln. She changed to the cleat mill process for the last 10 years.

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She explains that she was used to working all her life, since age 7, when her father took her to work picking tobacco leaves.

Working hard at the job enabled her to send three daughters to college, and she is proud of what they have done with their lives. Her daughter Subrina Florence is employed at Family Bank in Bainbridge, Kimberly Bell is a registered nurse living in North Carolina and Sherry Parker lives in the Turks & Caicos Islands where she is employed as the manager of the island water system.

So, how is she filling her days now that she is retired? She plans to devote more time to her church, St. Thomas located in Fowlstown, and spend more time with her husband. She is working to get her house in order and caring for her flower garden. She also has five grandbabies ranging in age from five up to 18. “The five year old boy will keep me young,” she declares with a grin.

She says the hardest part of retiring was leaving the people. “We had gotten so close. It was very emotional.” She explains it was a great company to work for, that she met people from all over the world and everyone called her “Mamma.”

Her best advice to others who are still employed is to treat people the way you want to be treated. “If you go in with the wrong attitude, what do you get?” she poses.