Community News

RPES custodian puts mop in bucket for last time

Tera Coon displays some of the farewell cards students made for her

News Staff Writer

When Tera Coon woke up around 5:30 a.m. Monday, September 30, and began preparing for work, it hit her. There was no need to hurry because for the first time in a quarter-century, there was no job to hurry to.
“I’ve got to get used to it,” laughed the former Rachel Patterson Elementary School custodian, who put her mop back in its bucket for the last time and ended her 25-year career last Friday. “I didn’t know what to do after I got up, so I started cleaning house. I got it clean inside, now I’ve started outside. I don’t know what I’ll do after I get through cleaning.”
Actually, the retiree does know how she will likely spend a lot of her alone time, as well as the increased time she will have with her husband of 43 years, Frankie Coon.
“I’ll be the Me-Maw taxi, for sure,” she said, referring to chauffeuring her seven grandchildren, all of whom live in the immediate area. “My husband and I bought a fish camp down on the river, and we’ll probably spend a lot of time there, just fishing and relaxing. I also want to help Brother Keith Lisenby out all I can at Renovation Ministries Church in Huxford.”
The McCullough resident also plans to put on her traveling shoes and leave her home behind for a while.
“My sister, Vicky Burns, and I are going to fly out to Denver and see my niece, Dr. Kelly Fayard (Vicky’s daughter). I also want to go on a cruise. I’ve never been on one, and I don’t care where it goes, just so they bring me back to dry land.”
The faculty and staff at RPES held a retirement luncheon for Tera on her final day of work. Anna Wilson surprised her mother by dropping in to share the occasion (Tera’s other two daughters are Jessica Tillery and Jennifer McGhee), and many of the school’s students made cards or drawings as going-away presents.
“This is my second family,” she said of the RPES community. “And I really love all these babies. It doesn’t matter how bad a day you’re having, when you pass one of them in the hall, and they say, ‘I love you’ or ‘good morning,’ it just melts your heart. I’m going to miss that.”