After 46 years of service to the Robertson County School District, Shelby Brooksher, the beloved "Mrs. Shelby" to the Jo Byrns community, has retired at age 79.
But it's not because she wants to retire.
"I've had a few health issues the past few years," Brooksher said. "So, I feel it's just time. I missed more days in April and May than I missed the whole 40-something years I was there."
Mrs. Shelby began her employment with the Jo Byrns district as an aid at the old Bell School before it merged with Cedar Hill's K-12 grades.
"I began doing bookwork," Brooksher said. "I had to take care of registration, attendance, payroll and all records. They asked me to help with the chorus and choir, playing the piano, while I was still at Bell School, so I got to do that every day and loved it."
Shelby Brooksher was married to Tommy Brooksher for 43 years, before his passing in the year 2000.
They had two daughters, Tammy Head and Tina Douglas.
Mrs. Shelby worked with children of all ages when Jo Byrns School served grades kindergarten through 12, before the elementary school was built. She was loved by many children.
One of Mrs. Shelby's fondest memories is of Scott Beasley, who at age 46, died last year following a long illness.
"He was one of my favorite little children," Brooksher said. "His mother told me that one day when he was sick, he sat in my lap until she could come and pick him up. That means a lot that she held that memory."
One of the silliest moments was that from the Class of 1983's Wayne Gamble.
"I started up the hall one day and looked up and spotted Wayne coming toward me," Brooksher said. "When he got up to me, he threw me over his shoulder, like a sack of potatoes, and took me into class with him. He thought it was so funny."
Brooksher said she has enjoyed playing piano for all her Jo Byrns grandchildren's graduations, performing Pomp and Circumstance at the school's commencement ceremonies for 35 years.
In May of 2016, Brooksher said she was devastated when she missed her youngest grandson's ceremony because she was hospitalized.
"Cole Head is the baby and will be a sophomore at the University of Tennessee this fall," Brooksher said. "When he graduated last year, I begged the doctor to let me go, but I was in the emergency room with a fever and pneumonia and he said I could not."
White House Heritage High School teacher and girls basketball coach Clay Head was one of those graduates, who said having his grandmother at school every day was a good thing.
"It was a great experience," Head said. "She took care of me just like she did everybody, but she really kept an eye on us. She has put her time and service to our county and now it's time for her to relax a little bit."
Springfield Mayor and Jo Byrns High School graduate Ann Schneider remembers Mrs. Shelby's relationship with people.
"She is an icon of the Jo Byrns community," Schneider said. "She loved us as her own."
Mrs. Shelby said she loves visiting with people, which made her days as secretary at Jo Byrns High School fly by.
"I am really going to miss the kids, I'm sure," Brooksher said. "I wish I could have kept up with the job, but health-wise, I do know this is what's best for me right now."
Brooksher celebrated her 79th birthday on Thursday, July 6.
Refreshments will be served at a retirement reception in her honor at the Jo Byrns High School cafeteria on July 30 from 4 - 6 p.m.
Contact Clay Head for details at Clay.Head@rcstn.net.