Whitehead’s retirement bittersweet

Published 10:50 am Saturday, December 15, 2012

Alice Whitehead, who operates the senior center in Franklin, receives a hug from Hattie Holland during Whitehead’s retirement luncheon Thursday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center. -- FRANK A. DAVIS/TIDEWATER NEWS


FRANKLIN—Thursday was bittersweet for Alice Whitehead, who said goodbye to her extended family at the senior center in Franklin.

Whitehead’s retirement celebration marked the end of a 30-year career with Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia. She oversaw the senior center at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, which serves Franklin, Isle of Wight and Southampton counties, and portions of Suffolk.

“I am happy and sad to retire,” Whitehead said. “I am happy to live to retire, sad to leave all my seniors who are like my extended family.”

City Manager Randy Martin presented Whitehead with a certificate of recognition.

“I was honored to be a part of the ceremony,” Martin said. “You could tell she was liked by all of those that she worked with, especially her seniors.”

“It was a great day, but a sad day at the same time,” added Frank Davis, director of Franklin Department of Parks & Recreation. “I applaud her for all of her hard work and the love that she had for the seniors. She gave her all at her job.”

Whitehead began her career with Senior Services in 1982 as a substitute van driver for three years and enjoyed working with the elderly.

“The elderly are a wealth of knowledge,” the 62-year-old said. “I am a people person, and I got my start after being a nurse’s aide doing home health care.”

Whitehead was named as the center manager for the Isle of Wight Senior Services Center in Camptown in 1985 and transferred to Franklin in 1997.

“I have learned a lot, thanks to my work at Senior Services,” she said. “They have so much that they offer their employees.”

Whitehead said the classes have taught her how to manage her own health conditions.

“It was a joy taking that class,” she said. “I can have a better life thanks to learning so much from all those classes.”

Whitehead plans to become an auxiliary pioneer for her church, Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses.

“I set a goal in 1990 to become a pioneer and I am happy that I will still be able to do that,” she said. “I have always believed in keeping active and staying going.”

Whitehead is married to Lorenzo Whitehead, a grounds-man for Crestline Realty in Franklin. They are the parents of Darrell Jones of Suffolk, a meat-cutter for Food Lion in Carrollton, and Tracy Walloe of Franklin, a medical technician at the Lake Prince retirement community.