Woman Retires After 58 Years With Same Company
by Marcus Washington
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – She's been employed by one company for nearly 59 years and this week at the age of 77, she said goodbye.
A standing ovation welcomed Bernice Csaszar as she walked into her retirement celebration for for 58 and a half years of service to Bridgestone Americas, known just as Firestone when Bernice first started there.
"They offered me this fantastic salary and I was going to be rich, so I couldn't turn that big offer down," said Csaszar.
For a whopping $125 a month, the then recent high school graduate went to work as a secretary for the tire company.
"But in Akron, it was the rubber capital of the world," she said.
It was in Akron, Ohio, where Bernice would start her career and stay with the company until they transferred her to Nashville in the early 1990s.
Her arrival brought daily quotes along with witty comments about Tennesseans driving in the rain and snow.
"I don't know if they are afraid or they're maybe just not used to it. But they probably didn't have Bridgestone tires on their car. That's why they were afraid. Do you get that? Print that," laughed Csaszar.
"A joy to be around and always, you saw it, her wit; she's always got those one liners of humor," her former co-worker Richard Thomas said.
It's not just wit that has helped Bernice continue to work nearly 60 years for one company, it's also her daily routine.
"I get up at 1 in the morning and I come in to work. I leave the house at 4 and I work out from 4:30- 5:30," she said. "I exercise before I come in to work; I do Pilates at home."
Wednesday, Bernice found out long after her last day, folks will always remember her when they workout, because the gym has been named in her honor.
"I was crying, I couldn't believe it," she said.
In 58 and a half years, Bernice has been more than an employee, but a teacher saying, "why not get through with a smile and a joke. You can be serious too, but you can laugh too."
Friday is Bernice's official last day and she said she will enjoy sleeping in and volunteering with local organizations.