“Mama Marsha,” a well-known fixture at the Kingsport Senior Center, is packing her bags for another adventure: Retirement.
A Kingsport native and Lynn View graduate, Marsha Mullins has held a variety of jobs over a 16-year period: from driver to receptionist to records clerk to “mind reader.” Add to that cook, baker, cake decorator, caterer, event coordinator and thespian, and one has a pretty accurate assessment of the roles Mullins has filled over those years. One of her co-workers calls her “one of the world’s nicest people.” She’s done a lot to earn that honor.
When her two sons were young, Mullins was very active in PTA at their school, Lynn Garden Elementary (now Kennedy Elementary).
“I served as homeroom mother for both sons from kindergarten through fifth grade. I served as PTA secretary, Hospitality chairman, Membership chairman, and President. I served on the Sullivan County PTA Council and the Kingsport Council as co-president. I served as Membership Chairman at John Sevier, Hospitality at Dobyns-Bennett, served on the First Tennessee Region PTA for several years and served as regional director. First Tennessee Region included the upper eight counties of East Tennessee, however, there were no or very few PTA schools in some of the counties,” Mullins recalls.
The Regional Directors were then on the state PTA board.
“I also served as Publicity Chairman for a term and ended my PTA ‘career’ after serving as 3rd Vice-President, [the person] charged with keeping track of all the regions and maintaining communication with all the regional directors,” she added.
A self-described “people person,” Mullins says she loves working around interesting and enjoyable people.
“Every day, it’s like a flashback in time. The Senior Center members have witnessed history - some have even played a part in it! I have heard so many stories and I could not ask for a more wonderful group. One thing is certain: It’s NEVER dull around here!”
Of course, having to say goodbye to some of those people is also the downside of the job she has loved for so many years.
“You get to know these wonderful men and women and, then one day, they’re gone. Saying goodbye is by far the hardest part,” she said.
She worked her last day at the Senior Center on Dec. 29.
It’s too soon to tell if her initial retirement will “take.” Her husband has been retired for a few years, so she’s sure that some cross-country travel will be involved, especially to visit with a new granddaughter. She has started a “to do” list — mostly activities and hobbies she did when her two sons were small or she did not have a full-time job, things like sewing, baking and decorating specialty cakes.
“I have a granddaughter and nieces now,” Mullins says, “so sewing has a new focus.”
She is also a fan of Pinterest and can see herself getting more involved and finding more patterns to sew and recipes to try in the future. She is also looking forward to spending more time with her parents, who also live in Kingsport.
“I will certainly miss the camaraderie of the staff and Center members,” she says,” God has blessed me beyond measure with a wonderful family and many friends. I just give Him all the praise and honor for all that I am or hope to be. I’ll be back to take part in some of the activities the Center has to offer — or I might bring a cake!”