It was a bittersweet day in Edmonds Wednesday as a beloved volunteer embarked on her retirement.
It's actually a second retirement, one that has been 99 years in the making.
Every Wednesday for the past seven years, people who walked into Edmonds Lutheran Church couldn't help but notice Billie Stenson's smile.
Billie is always smiling.
"That's what everybody says," said Billie, with her typical laugh.
Billie volunteers at the church's "Annie's Kitchen."
Once a week, the kitchen feeds the homeless, the poor and anyone else who is just looking for a friendly face.
That face is usually Billie's.
"It's just fun doing things you like around the people that you love," she said.
Literally a coal miner's daughter, Billie was a child of the depression who raised three kids and retired from a career in the federal government.
But retirement didn't quite stick the first time around.
She got involved in charity work and started volunteering at the kitchen at the tender age of 92.
That was seven years ago.
Now at 99, folks at the church estimate Billie has rolled more than 67,000 set-ups of knives, forks, and napkins for the weekly dinners.
"I haven't counted," she chuckled. "We do it until we run out of knives and forks. Then we can quit."
Quitting time finally arrived. Wednesday was Billie's last day.
She doesn't get around as well as she used to and feels it's time to move on.
"There's a time for everything," she said.
Billie said she has gotten much more than she has given during her time at the church and credited her tough childhood and strong family for her generous heart.
"My mother was one of those who always helped people. If she had a dollar, she'd give 50 cents and keep 50."
The kitchen will be a bit darker each Wednesday without Billie's sunny disposition, but she left everyone knowing you're never too old to give back.
"I think I left them in good hands," said Billie, smiling all the while.
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