By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
For more than 27 years Susie was the “voice” of the Baptist and Reflector. Call our general office number and more than likely Susie was the “voice” you heard. But Susie was far more than just a voice.
She had a number of duties besides serving as receptionist for the Baptist and Reflector. She assumed a multitude of tasks under the designation “other duties as assigned” and some that were not assigned. She was the unofficial “Mr. Fix-it” for the B&R. In the “old” days (when I joined the B&R staff in 1988) we used a typesetting machine to set type that we had to cut and paste and place on layout pages. We had a wax machine in which we would run the copy through before pasting it on the page.
As one might expect, that machine could get really nasty. Susie, as was her nature, couldn’t handle that, so she took it upon herself to clean it occasionally. It never failed. Susie would take the wax machine apart, clean it, and always have at least one screw left over when she put it back together. But regardless of the number of times Susie cleaned that machine it held together until the day we “retired” it when we became computerized.
Susie’s favorite title and assignment, however, was self-proclaimed. She was the B&R’s official “hall minister.” On Tuesday of each week she would deliver the paper to offices throughout what was then known as the “Baptist Center.”
After Susie’s death I wrote a blog and mentioned that Susie could take a 10-minute task and turn it into an hour. Actually, she could and sometimes did turn it into more than an hour, but that was okay.
Susie truly was a minister to her friends and colleagues. She always had a sympathetic ear and was willing to listen and “just be there” when someone had a need or problem. Susie loved people and they knew it. They loved her back, even those who never met her.
It was amazing that after Susie’s death, I heard from people she had talked to over the years who mourned her death. Though they never met her in person, they considered Susie a “close friend.” That was the impact she had on people.
Though Susie is gone, her ministry continues.
During Susie’s bout with cancer, she and her husband Mark would frequently post “Notes from Susie” to keep everyone informed. Susie was known for sending cards/notes to people — whether it be for a special occasion in someone’s life or just a “thinking of you” note.
After Susie’s death, Mark, with the encouragement and support of many people, decided to publish Susie’s notes as a book entitled Notes from Susie: Choosing Gratitude in Life’s Low Places. The book is Susie and Mark’s way of continuing to minister to others as she so dearly loved to do.
Walking through a valley (especially the valley of cancer) is difficult. Susie walked through that valley with dignity and it was obvious to those who knew her best. Even through her darkest days Susie was able to lift the spirits of those around her.
This book details their struggles and the happy moments of her final three years. Though it was cancer, there would always be “happy moments” if Susie was involved. I would encourage you to read the book and even give it to a friend or couple who may be walking through a valley now. It will encourage them and remind them of the hope and strength they have through Jesus Christ.
The book will be available for distribution in conjunction with the Susie Edwards Memorial Concert to be held May 21 at 6 p.m. in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, Nashville. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.youthcue.org/programs/susie-edwards-memorial-concert.
To order the book, visit www.NotesfromSusie.com.
Both the book and the concert are special ways to honor a special lady.