Caraway celebrates Cleffie Gipson

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Caraway Mayor Barry Riley declared Sunday, June 8, Cleffie Gipson day in the city in honor of Gipson's years of service.

The seniors of Caraway Senior Citizen Center hosted a drop in retirement party for center site director Cleffie Gipson on Sunday, June 8, at the center.

Gipson, who worked for Thermagas for 21 years, took on site director of the Caraway Senior Citizen Center as her second career.

"I started this center," Gipson said. "I've loved every day of it. These are the sweetest bunch of people in the whole state of Arkansas right here."

Gipson is retiring after 19 and half years of service to care for her husband.

"The people of this center are my second family," Gipson said. "I truly planned on being here until I died but I'm needed at home. I will be back to visit. I want to thank all people of this center, of the community and those who have always helped us. When Western Auto was in business if I needed anything I just called and it was done. Same for the boys that work for the city. This city has always been good about helping."

Gipson said a few words to her friends, family and community members that gathered to celebrate her career. She shared stories of trips the seniors took and thanked all of them for the found memories.

"Anything I would ask this group to do they would do it," Gipson said. "I would never ask them to do anything I wouldn't do myself. I am going to miss everyone."

Caraway Mayor Barry Riley presented Gipson with a proclamation declaring Sunday, June 8, Cleffie Gipson Day in the city of Caraway in honor of Gipson's service to the community.

"I hate to see her go," Riley said. "She is a respected business lady and respected member of this community. She has always been quick to volunteer to help make this town a better town. I hope when she retires she still stays involved in the community because everyone loves to work with her. We are celebrating her leaving a job today not the community."

Many of Gipson's friends and members of the Caraway Senior Center had stories to tell and wonderful things to say about Gipson's time as site director.

"Words cannot explain what she has meant to us and the senior center," Ruth Rhodes, of Caraway, said. "We love her to death but she needs to be home right now. She has faithfully and religiously taken care of us all these years and we wish her well."

Friend Sue Clements wrote a few qualities she observed in Cleffie using the letters of her name. Qualities like: compassionate lady, love for all, energy to help others, friend to many, follower of Christ, integrity in everything and excellence in caregiving.

"These are qualities I observed in Cleffie," Clements said. "For almost 20 years she has served as our site manager and she has served us well. She is known far and wide as a person that can be depended on, one who will go the extra mile to help others, and one of great generosity. Though she is leaving the role of site manager, she remains a loyal friend, a caring compassionate caregiver, and one who can be depended on in a crisis. God bless you, Cleffie. I love you!"

Lynn Haag, who owned Western Auto, also spoke sharing stories of Gipson saying she has been a mainstay in Caraway for years.

"She and George have been a huge plus to our community," Haag said. "She made the senior center a place our seniors could come to have one good meal a day and good companionship. I hope it keeps going."

Rep. Homer Lenderman was also at the event saying Gipson is a wonderful lady and sharing stories of his times stopping by the center once a month to bring doughnuts.

Party attendees enjoyed cake and refreshments as they fellowshipped with Gipson.

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