Hawkins Church Pianist Retires At 86 - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/26/06-Longview

Hawkins Church Pianist Retires At 86

The Hawkins community came together to throw a big party for a little lady, retiring after having served her church as pianist for three decades. With music and longtime friends and former students on hand, the guest of honor Bennie Wimberly, 86, came into the New Zion Baptist Church.

"Because of who she is, we love her and we're here to show her that," said one church member.

Wimberly is retiring as the church pianist, after 29 years. She also taught school in Hawkins for more than 40 years.  Today former students, family and friends told her how much she has touched them.

"I'll speak for all you've taught Mrs. Wimberly, and say so much of who we are today is because of you," said Mira Clift, one of Wimberly's former students.

"It means so much we are so appreciative and so heartfelt she's just a great person. It's overwhelming," said C.J. Bell, Wimberly's granddaughter.

"We appreciate her as a person as a teacher, as a pianist, as a grandmother, as a friend, as a neighbor, one lady holding all these qualities," said another church member.

Her family was touched that so many people wanted to honor Mrs. Wimberly. Stricken by Alzheimer's, she feel's it's time to retire.

Miss Wimberly was also awarded a plaque of lifetime appreciation by a group of her former students.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.  bhallmark@kltv.com

  

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