Saying goodbye: Senior center, library director retires
Published 2:49 pm Monday, February 22, 2016
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM— Grace, discernment and professionalism are the characteristics Pelham Mayor Gary Waters used to describe Barbara Roberts at her retirement celebration Feb. 18.
Roberts, director of the Pelham Senior Center and Pelham Public Library, has been with the city for more than 20 years, beginning her career in July 1995.
“She is one of the most fearless people I’ve ever met, and I think the thing I love most about Barbara is that she always looks out for the welfare of others before she looks out for her own welfare,” Waters said. “That’s a heck of a legacy to leave and we should all be so fortunate.”
After turning 62 in February, Roberts said she decided it was time to retire to spend more time traveling and more time with her husband and two 18-month-old granddaughters.
She’s already planned a month long trip to Glacier National Park, a train trip across Canada and a trip to Costa Rica in the next year.
“I plan to travel a lot, but I also plan to come back to the senior center as a member, and I’m going to take tai chi and line dancing,” she said. “I plan to continue to use the library and actually be able to read books again.”
She said she’ll miss the staff she’s worked with and built at the library and senior center, as well as the other city employees she’s worked with for so long, but she also plans to stay involved in the city she spent so much time in.
“I plan to stay very involved in the city,” Roberts said. “We have come too far with the library and the Senior Center…to ever start sliding backward.”
In her more than 20 years, Roberts said she was proud of the staff she was able to develop at the library and the programs they built at the senior center, which she added are unique to others in the area.
“At the Senior Center, I am most proud of getting this building built because that was a huge, huge thing,” she said. “At the time it was built, there was not a senior center in the county to rival this one.”
Several members of the senior center got up to speak about Roberts’ character and accomplishments, stating that everything in the senior center wouldn’t be there without her.
“I’m sure I or anybody else could never begin to tell how much and how very grateful we are to Barbara for all the things she’s done for the Pelham Senior Center,” said Ester Acre.
While Roberts will be enjoying a different role in the city, she told everyone that the senior center and library will continue on without her.
Roberts said she recommended Mary Campbell, the children’s librarian, as her replacement, and Regina Jimenez will continue her role as manager of the senior center.
“Everything has a season and it’s time for a new season,” Roberts said. “I can’t wait to get started.”