Longtime conference center receptionist Mary Jane Lever retires

By Allison Trussell

COLUMBIA—With a bright smile and a cheerful greeting, Mary Jane Lever is usually the first person people coming into the Methodist Conference Center meet.

For nearly 16 years, Lever has served as receptionist to the center, doing everything from answering phone calls to stuffing envelopes to making bows at Christmas.

“I do what I’m asked to do,” she said simply.

Dec. 18 was her final day at work, beginning the new year with retirement.

“I’ll miss the people,” Lever said, noting close friendships with conference staff and the regular visitors.

Talking with and meeting people has been a highlight of her job. “They’re all so interesting,” she noted, “whether they’re regulars or staff or people who walked in off the street.”

The position came to her by happenstance.

“Tammy Fulmer called and asked if I knew anybody who might be interested in the job and I said ME!,” she recalled with a laugh. Although trained as an X-ray technician, Lever had been working with her husband in the family-run business, keeping books and accounts.

Lever has no immediate plans for retirement, though she’s sure they will involve spending time with her two sons and other family.

“I’m sure my church and other people have plenty of plans for me,” she said with that same bright smile and cheerfulness that she’s known for.

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