Betty Cochran Price, 86, died on Dec. 16 after suffering a stroke. Price was an employee, not a resident of the nursing home.
"Betty's original hire date was 1969, so she worked here for more than 40 years," Director Tonya Moser said.
Price worked at the old Salem Nursing Home on Main Street, beginning in 1969, the site where a new jail and justice center will soon be developed. She stayed on when the Cooper nursing home chain bought the facility in 1988. She then moved with the rest of the staff when the new Therapy and Living Center opened just off Highway 62-412 in 2007.
"She liked the people and said she felt like it was helping the community," Moser said when asked why Price continued working long past the time most people retire.
According to Moser, Price worked in medical records for many, many years and, in recent years, worked as a receptionist at a desk in the Living Center's lobby, which allowed her to reduce her hours.
"She was very kind hearted, and a dedicated and loyal employee," Moser said. "They don't make a lot of people like her any more. She had a great work ethic."
Louise Welch agreed, remembering Price working at the first nursing home building when her husband, Bob Welch, ran the facility. "She was a hard worker, who took her job very seriously," Welch said.
Moser added that Betty last worked on Thursday, Dec. 13, three days before she became ill.
Her reception desk and chair in the entryway sit just like she left them.