Twenty-seven years ago I joined the Baptist and Reflector staff and met a part-time employee named Susie Edwards. Little did I know that on that day in May of 1988 I was also meeting a lifelong friend.
Susie spent nearly 30 years on the staff of the Baptist and Reflector, holding a variety of responsibilities over the years. Her favorite title and one that fit her best was “hall minister.” On Tuesdays after the paper was printed on Monday Susie would deliver the paper throughout the Tennessee Baptist Convention offices in Brentwood.
With Susie that 10-minute (at the most) task could turn into a hour. Her reasoning: She couldn’t just deliver the paper and not check on the people she encountered. Translated, she had to talk with everyone she saw and make sure they were doing well.
Susie loved people and people knew it. She could light up any room with her smile.
Susie was an ambassador for the Baptist and Reflector as well as the Tennessee Baptist Convention as a whole. She normally was the first voice people heard when they called the B&R office. I think people actually found a reason to call just so they could talk to Susie. She had the remarkable ability of making people feel good about themselves.
Two years ago I was in my office late on a Friday afternoon when I heard Susie and Mary Nimmo, another staff member, sobbing. I thought something had happened to one of their relatives. But I soon discovered Susie had just heard from her doctor that she had been diagnosed with cancer.
I kept my composure that day for their sake, but I am not ashamed to admit that tears have flowed for Susie in the months since and they continued today (March 24). We learned earlier this morning that Susie is no longer in pain. She is now in the presence of the Lord she loved and served so faithfully, not only as a denominational employee but also as a minister’s wife. Her husband, Mark, is a retired minister of music who served for many years at First Baptist Church, Nashville.
During Susie’s two-year bout with cancer, she handled it with dignity and grace. Susie was an amazing witness to numerous other cancer patients and hospital personnel. As was her “modis operandi,” Susie was more concerned about others than herself and this endeared her to countless people over the years.
Those who knew and loved Susie are grieving because we will miss her greatly. But we also are relieved that she is no longer in pain and that she is enjoying the fruits of her ministry now in heaven. Continue to pray for Mark and her children Nathan and Weslee, along with the five grandchildren who were the “apples of her eye.”
Susie was the chief proofer for the paper for most of her time on staff. We would give her “hard copy” of the stories she was proofing. We usually would type or write “30” at the bottom of the page so she would know that was the end of the story.
There is no “30” on Susie’s story. Those who knew her best will have precious memories of her and the times that were shared and one day we will see her again in heaven. That’s the hope and promise we find in Scripture.
Thank you Susie for your friendship and for the memories. So long, for now.