By Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer | Published June 5, 2017
Phyllis Warner, Christ the King School’s longtime librarian assistant, has closed the final chapter on a 44-year career at the Atlanta school, as she retired last month.
Warner, like her husband Jack of 58 years, grew up in the southeast Ohio town of Logan. They attended the same high school and dated as Jack served in the military and attended college. After Jack finished college, they married and he took a job with Mead Packaging in Atlanta.
One of the first things they did as good Catholics was register at the Cathedral of Christ the King. Their three children, Cecilia, Stephen (deceased since 1997) and Patrick attended the parish school.
When Warner took the job as librarian assistant in 1973, Patrick was in grade school, Stephen was in middle school and Cecilia was a freshman at St. Pius X High School, Atlanta. At first she worked part-time, but in 1984 Warner became the school’s fulltime librarian assistant. Along the way they ditched the card catalog for computers and her title changed to media assistant.
For almost four and half decades Warner worked under four different principals, including Grey Nuns, Sister Mary O’Hare and Sister Jean Liston, and laywomen Peggy Warner (no relation) and Tricia Ward.
Warner said the thing she’ll miss most about her job is the people she has worked with over the years and the children. “I loved the little ones,” said Warner. “I enjoyed the daily interaction with the children and knowing their parents. I watched them grow up and leave, and a new group of children come take their place. I got to see them as children, and then I saw their children. There was a lot of legacy.”
I have known Phyllis since I arrived at Christ the King 28 years ago,” said current principal Tricia Ward. “I used to love to go to the library to talk to her, because she always had a smile on her face and was always interested in hearing about what was going on in my classroom, or with my family.”
“As an employee, she was loyal, dependable, conscientious, helpful, responsible, a team player,” added Ward. “She is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet and has a wonderful, dry sense of humor.”
I can’t remember the first time I met Ms. Warner, but it was more than 10 years ago through her son, Patrick, who works in the Archdiocese of Atlanta finance department. I’m sure Mr. Warner (Jack) was probably with her, because over the years I’ve seen them both at various Cathedral of Christ the King events and liturgies. I can personally attest that they are a very gracious and warm couple.
When Jack ended his career at Mead in 1993 that gave him a 24-year head start on retirement life. Humorously speaking, Phyllis said that he might have to get used to sharing and experiencing retirement with her.
Warner says she has no big plans for life after work other than spending more time with family, which now includes four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. This July she and Jack are returning to Logan for her family reunion.
She also reminded me that retirement is going to provide more time to watch Ohio State Buckeye football, something they both love.
Congratulations Ms. Warner! You’ve earned it.